“I am not at Frieze. I am here at 1:54”

“I am not at Frieze. I am here at 1:54”


This week is possibly the busiest week in London for the art industry. In fact, with all the fairs and art shows opening at once, it’s very hard to select one and give it precedence above all the others. But, for the second year running, we are here again, at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

1:54 may be a very young art fair yet “since the inaugural edition in 2013, it has grown to become the leading international platform for contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.” says Touria El Glaoui, and we could not agree more.

Giving Touria a warm hug in front of us, artist and Bandjoun Station founder Barthélémy Toguo spoke to the Founding Director about his decision to present his latest project here, above anywhere else, in London demonstrating his support for this challenging art fair.
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Mobile Caffeteria, Bandjoun Station, Barthélémy Toguo, 2016

Yesterday’s opening marked the fourth anniversary of the fair which hosts a carefully curated selection of 40 exhibitors, 10 special projects and over 130 artists all under the beautiful roof of Somerset House.

For us and many others, 1:54 has become an biannual appointment. A family reunion, a time to catch up with artists, gallery owners, art agitateurs and disruptors from all over the world, as well as an exciting moment to explore the highlights of contemporary art branded Africa.

At yesterday’s preview we were impressed by significant artworks from Serge Attukwei Clottey, represented by the Ghanaian gallery 1957, Victor Ehikhamenor whose art is inspired by his village in Nigeria, Emo de Medeiros with his “Vodunaut” and photographs from Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé.

Below are a selection of our highlights from the fair.

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Vodunaut, Emo de Medeiros

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Maria Mc Clay, Jodi Bieber, 2008

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Sarah, Senzeni and Theodora come to Joburg, Senzeni Marsela, 2011

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فرنسا شّومتي حالي. Neon, Nidhal chamekh, 2016

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Victor Ehikhamenor in front of his artwork

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Point of view, listening point, Farah Kelil, 2013-2015

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Under Construction, Alexis Peskine, 2016

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Echelle sans fin, Ndoye Douts, 2016

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Untitled, Ephrem Solomon, 2016

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At the Border, Richard Mudariki, 2016

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Advice to the Young, Richard Mudariki, 2016

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Domestic Scene, Billie Zangewa, 2016

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Pendant les grandes chaleurs, Malick Sidibé, 1971

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Sur les rochers au bord du fleuve Niger, Malick Sidibé, 1971

Selmani Massinissa

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African Choir, Nathalie Boutté, 2015

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
6 – 9 October
Somerset House
Strand
London, WC2R 1LA
United Kingdom

Featured Image |
Jody Bieber, 2008 –  Images from the preview | Johanne Affricot

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Janine Gaelle

Janine Gaelle

I come, I see, I conquer, at least i try... I dropped my luggages 5 years ago in a city I fell in love with, this is how Florence became home to me. I'm a "multi-local", I think we belong to the places we live(d), home is where I feel, my head and my mind rested. Home is where I enrich myself with experiences, people, art and all kind of creativity, as far as I'm concerned, this is what travels are made for, to explore and be the person we decide to be.