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Bisa Butler

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2021

Coinciding with Frieze Week, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns to its London home at Somerset House. Launching with a VIP preview on October 14 and 15, the fair is open to the public in-person from October 16–17, and viewable online through Artsy until October 31. In this 9th edition of the fair, attendees will find nearly 50 presenters from 23 countries sharing the work of creatives from Africa and its diaspora, including a main presentation floor, the Forum Program, the Special Projects platform, and more.

Names like Addis Fine Art, Retro Africa, THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE, DADA Gallery, La Galerie 38, Gallery 1957, and UBUNTU Gallery, make up the group of 20 galleries presenting, the largest number from the continent to date. The remaining galleries hail from North America and Europe, and fair first-timers include Foreign Agent, 31 PROJECT, Galerie Atiss Dakar, Bubble’n’Squeak, HOA Galeria, Galerie Dominique Fiat,and Galerie Le Sud.

Titled “Continental Drift,” this year’s Forum sector has been curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, who is the Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation. Encompassing happenings like artist talks, panel discussions, readings, performances, and screenings, the program will explore ideas of digitality, legacy, and philanthropy through the eyes of Michael Armitage, Koyo Kouoh, Otobong Nkanga, Princess Alia Al Senussi, and others.

Then, in collaboration with Christie’s, the Projects platform encompasses a special exhibition accessible at the auction house’s Duke Street location and online, conceived by the art critic and art historian Christine Eyene. Christie’s is also presenting for auction an NFT series by the Nigerian crypto-artist Osinachi, titled Different Shades of Water, which can be viewed through the Christie’s online platform and in-person at the fair.

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