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Charlene Komuntale

1-54 London Celebrates A Decade with Largest Edition Yet

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The 10th Anniversary edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the largest iteration of the London fair to date, taking place at Somerset House from October 13—16 and online through Artsy until October 30. With 50 international galleries showcasing the works of more than 130 African-diasporic artists, 1-54 brings together new and established galleries from 21 different countries, along with a roster complete with performances, readings, workshops, talks, and screenings.

1-54 at Somerset House

Photo by Jim Winslet, courtesy of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

“We are delighted to celebrate 1-54 London’s 10th anniversary with our flagship edition at Somerset House, where we have shown since our inception in 2013,” said Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director, 1-54. “We are looking forward to welcoming new galleries and artists along with our loyal regulars who have been on this journey with us for the past 10 years, without whom, we would not be here.”

Also marking a third year of partnering with Christie’s, this 2022 edition welcomes first-time presenters like Italy’s Gallerie Poggiali, the New York-based albertz benda, local art spaces like Berntson Bhattacharjee Gallery and Unit London, Portas Vilaseca Galeria from Rio de Janeiro, and the Dakar-based Selebe Yoon. Those familiar with the fair might also recognize returning names like AFIKARIS, Gallery 1957, Loft Art Gallery, Nil Gallery, THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE, DADA Gallery,and L’Atelier 21. From these galleries are a range of solo and group shows of prominent and emerging artists alike, including those like Zanele Muholi, Sola Olulode, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Hassan Hajjaj,and Pedro Neves.

1-54 at Somerset House

Photo by Jim Winslet, courtesy of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

Highlights to keep in mind include the 1-54 Genesis Collectors Pass, a collaboration with Code Green for exclusive access to Genesis NFT drops; the 1-54 Forum program, which is conceived around the title To Catch Flying Horses from the Sky: The Impossible Task of Dreaming in the Present and curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation; Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s concept for the VIP Lounge, a multi-sensory installation titled Chop Bar; and the exhibition “Children of the Diaspora,” which is curated by Pacheanne Anderson. Fairgoers should also be on the lookout for the special presentation of Grada Kilomba’s installation O Barco / The Boat. On view in Somerset House’s courtyard through October 19, the work—borrowing its form from the lower hold found in a European slave ship—will be activated over the duration of the fair with performances in collaboration with Kalaf Epalanga.

Aïcha Snoussi

Aïcha Snoussi, “Watch me,” 2022, Collage on debris, 60 x 45 cm; courtesy of Galerie La La Lande.

Themba Khumalo

Themba Khumalo, “Ibandla,” 2021, Oil on paper, 70 x 100 cm each, courtesy of Montoro 12 Gallery.

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