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The New York edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns this week, taking place in person for the first time since 2019. Open from May 19—22, the fair inaugurates a new home at Harlem Parish, welcoming 25 international galleries hailing from Africa, Europe, the U.S., and the Middle East. The main presentations will be accompanied by a roster of special projects, the Forum sector, and a VIP program made possible with the support of ARTNOIR. A digital iteration will also happen alongside the in-person programming from May 19—25, launched with the help of Artsy.
“We are thrilled to return to a physical fair in New York for the first time since 2019 and are excited to welcome visitors to our new venue at Harlem Parish,” said the fair’s Founding Director, Touria El Glaoui. “We look forward to celebrating our return to New York throughout the Harlem community, a neighborhood with rich historical and contemporary ties to artists from Africa and its diaspora.”
Presenting galleries local to New York include those like Cierra Britton Gallery, Fridman Gallery, Montague Contemporary, Superposition Gallery, Long Gallery, and Medium Tings, who can be seen alongside spaces like AFIKARIS, Nil Gallery, Jason Shin, and espace d’art contemporain 14N 61W. Among these presentations, viewers can expect to find the work of around 50 international creators from Africa and its diaspora, who work in a multitude of mediums—including the likes of the Cameroon-based Ludovic Nkoth, Thandiwe Muriu from Kenya, Ghana’s Lord Ohene, Johanna Mirabel from France, and the U.S.-based Audrey Lyall.
The fair’s 2022 iteration welcomes a new curator for the Forum sector, Novella Ford, who is the Associate Director for Public Programs and Exhibitions at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Encompassing a list of screenings, performances, and talks, Ford’s programming looks at the work and practice of diasporic artists through the lens of Harlem Renaissance writer Countee Cullen, whose poem From the Dark Tower acknowledges a legacy of Black labor.
“We will root current ideas and creative production by artists of African descent within a lineage of Black political, cultural, and intellectual engagement that has cultivated a present-day Black cultural renaissance,” said Ford. “This exploration situates Harlem’s historical relevance to the interlocking histories of people of African descent, with the spirit of famed Harlem Renaissance salons that offered a cross-pollination of ideas between artists, academic and independent scholars, entertainers, and critics.”
Don’t miss the special project Hope Is a Dry Colour by Micha Serraf, the 2021 recipient of the Ritzau Art Prize; an NFT project with Christie's and Code Green; and the awarding of the 2022 Ritzau Art Prize, which goes to the painter and sculptor Johanna Mirabel.