12 Oct 2023 - 15 Oct 2023

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2023

Somerset House


1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is delighted to return to Somerset House for the 11th consecutive year over four days from 12 – 15 October 2023 (Press Preview 12 October). As the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora, 1-54 London 2023 will host over 60 international exhibitors, its largest number to date, representing 31 countries. Of the 62 international exhibitors, one third are from the African continent and 14 galleries will participate at the fair’s London edition for the first time. Newcomers to the fair include Affinity Gallery (Lagos, Nigeria), Efie Gallery (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), Asfalto (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Krystel Ann Art (Lisbon, Portugal), Hannah Traore Gallery (New York, USA), and The African Art Hub (London, UK), among others. New and returning exhibitors will present over 170 artists working across an array of mediums from painting and sculpture to mixed media and installation. Works from established artists such as Joana Choumali, Ibrahim El Salahi and Soly Cissé to young and emerging artists including Josué Comoe, and Anya Paintsil will be on view.

Specially commissioned for the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Moroccan artist Amine El Gotaibi will present ‘Illuminate the Light’ in collaboration with MCC Gallery (Marrakech, Morocco). This monumental installation consists of geometric sculptures made of Corten steel and inspired by the seeds of a pomegranate that vary in shape, representing the diversity of the African continent. At dusk, the sculptures will be transformed into luminous installations. Wielding light as a solid medium, El Gotaibi sees light as a metaphor to reverse the relationship between source and destination. Through light, the artist aims to encourage viewers to question the hierarchy of substances and their perspective, reinforcing his core philosophy that ‘out of darkness, light emerges’.

“We are delighted to welcome more galleries than ever before with a significant number of galleries based on the continent” says Founding Director Touria El Glaoui. “Alongside our established artists you will encounter emerging artists who we are proud to present at the start of their careers. Over the past 11 years, numerous artists have had their international debut at our fair and are now established figures in the art market, and we hope to continue this as we enter our next decade. As a French Moroccan, I am personally excited to see such a strong connection to Morocco this year. Our wonderful courtyard artist Amine El Gotaibi is one of the country’s most exciting contemporary artists, and I can’t wait to see his project transform the beautiful courtyard at Somerset House.”

Now in its fourth consecutive year, 1-54’s continued partnership with Christie’s signals the fair’s strong and dynamic relationship with the global auction house. The collaboration also demonstrates Christie’s commitment to showcasing contemporary African art to its global client base and enhancing exposure for the fair internationally. This year’s collaboration will also see Christie’s host the second iteration of 1-54 Presents, a new programme of pop-up exhibitions by 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, from 9- 14th October at their London space.

1-54 is also pleased to announce a new creative partnership with Infiniment Coty Paris, a high-end fragrance collection which will be launched globally in 2024 by Coty Inc., one of the world’s largest beauty companies.

The brand will introduce its first Infiniment Coty Paris Art Gallery featuring dedicated artworks from across Africa, and reveal in avant-première the 14 fragrances from the upcoming collection through a dedicated installation. Follow Infiniment Coty Paris on Instagram.

‘1-54 Presents’ launches at Christie’s in London and Mr Eazi’s first exhibition listening experience among line-up of Special Projects celebrating 1-54’s 11th edition in London

  • The pop-up exhibition 1-54 Presents at Christie’s will present mixed-media works with a Caribbean focus
  • Only UK showing of Afrobeats superstar Mr Eazi’s special art and music experience ‘The Evil Genius’, showcasing work by 13 artists
  • A repatriation project by LOOTY through a ‘digital heist’ of Rosetta Stone (Hajar Rashid)
  • Nando’s partnership with Spier Arts Trust will present artworks by three South African artists

1-54 Presents, a new programme of pop-up exhibitions by 1-54 is pleased to announce Transatlantic Connections: Caribbean Narratives in Contemporary Art opening at Christie’s London Headquarters to coincide with the fair. On view from 10 to 13 October 2023, this group exhibition brings together a selection of works by artists from the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora to explore cultural similarities across generations and geographies. Curated by Caryl* Ivrisse-Crochemar & [creative renegades society], Transatlantic Connections is the second-ever show by 1-54 Presents, and will feature work by Juan Carlos Alom, Sonia Elizabeth Barrett, Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Michael Forbes, Satch Hoyt, Nadia Huggins, Alain Joséphine, Anina Major, Marcia Michael, Johanna Mirabel, Lavar Munroe, Zak Ové, Horace Ové, Ada M. Patterson, Sheena Rose, Jamilah Sabur, Charmaine Watkiss, Alberta Whittle and Aubrey Williams. Spanning the mediums painting, photography, installation, and sculpture, this presentation is rooted in twentieth century Martinican thinker Aimé Césaire’s concept of Négritude – the notion that black peoples share a collective identity, consciousness and culture – and Edouard Glissant’s theory of Rhizome, a concept in post-structuralism describing a nonlinear network that connects any point to any other point. As such, whilst aesthetically varied, the exhibition looks at the rich tapestry of creative practices, experiences, and narratives shared across the Caribbean and its diaspora, despite the archipelago’s sociological and historical diversity.

To celebrate the fair’s biggest edition, the Nigerian recording artist Mr Eazi will present ‘The Evil Genius’, a remarkable, first-of-its-kind fusion of contemporary African art and music. This special exhibition listening experience will showcase unique works by 13 artists, each corresponding to a track from his forthcoming album of the same name. Noting a lack of alignment between Africa’s exploding music industry and the continent’s fine arts creators, he realised he could enhance the album’s story, as well as bring fresh attention to African art, by incorporating their work into the project. The featured artists represent eight African nations, bringing their own unique perspective, resulting in a diverse range of aesthetics and techniques. From bold and vibrant paintings to intricate drawings, the collection is a powerful statement of African creativity and ingenuity.

This year’s edition of 1-54 London will see renowned artist Theresah Ankomah present a new woven installation titled ‘Yɛ yɛ dɔm’ within the soaring rotunda of Somerset House’s Nelson Staircase. Theresah Ankomah pushes the boundaries of art by exploring the intricacies of weaving and craft in relation to issues of geopolitics, consumerism, gender, identity, and capitalism. Through performative installations, sculpture, weaving, photography, basketry painting, and printmaking, Ankomah delves into the profound meanings embedded within everyday objects. Ankomah’s artistic process involves assembling and disassembling woven objects, collaging, and joining materials to create a disjointed yet cohesive body of work. Her practice goes beyond the confines of traditional aesthetics, challenging preconceived notions and examining the social and political dimensions of craft. By appropriating individual weaves from diverse encounters and narratives, she creates a rich tapestry of stories and experiences.

Established in 2020, artHARARE is the preeminent platform to experience contemporary art from Zimbabwe and is dedicated to promoting and supporting the development of contemporary art practice in Zimbabwe and its diaspora. artHARARE places itself in the landscape of institutions and platforms founded by artists with the desire to help grow the African art scene and make it accessible to wider audiences. artHARARE’s presentation at 1-54 London will include a selection of artworks by leading Zimbabwean emerging visual artists, Franklyn Dzingai, Wilfred Timire, Option Dzikamai Nyahunzvi, Prudence Chimutuwah and Mostaff Muchawaya, whose works span various media including mixed media, prints, works on canvas and paintings. Represented in this special project is a generation of contemporary visual artists who speak most vocally and accurately about their nation, its people, as well as their dreams, challenges, hopes and morals, through their artworks.

Artist Afroscope, Alice Raymond and Kwaku Opoku will present works born from their collaborations with women’s textile weaving collectives and Nubuke Foundation’s Centre for Textile and Clay in Wa, Ghana. The Foundation runs Woori, an annual Festival, and a residency programme where they invite artists and creatives to create projects that positively impact the livelihoods of women textile weavers in Wa, Nandowli and Nandom. The works presented will reinterpret centuries-old indigenous knowledge systems, using digital technology to connect woven strips to music, translating climatic information through colour and motifs, innovating and engaging with the visually impaired and deaf community in Wa.

Nando’s will return as a Bronze Sponsor for 1-54 London 2023, in partnership with Spier Arts Trust. This patronage of contemporary Southern African art both enables career development opportunities for artists and the curation of Nando’s body of work. By enabling artists to focus full-time on their artistic careers with the potential to earn a regular income, Nando’s is making a difference in people’s lives while growing their body of high quality Southern African contemporary art. Spier Arts Trust administers programmes that create career development opportunities for professional artists, thereby facilitating successful art careers. For this edition of 1-54 London 2023, Nando’s is presenting work by three Southern African artists: Colijn Strydom, Nkosinathi Quwe and Vivien Kohler.

With renowned professor and archaeologist Monica Hana, collaborative art collective LOOTY executed a daring ‘Digital Heist’ at the British Museum, utilising cutting-edge LiDAR technology to record detailed scans of the Rosetta Stone (Hajar Rashid). These scans were then transported, both physically and digitally, to the town of Rashid, where the Rosetta Stone was originally taken, using Geo-located Arm making it one of the first digitally repatriated artworks to be returned to its physical location. The reconstruction of the stela, of which the Rosetta Stone was once a part, serves as a reimagination of the past and augmentation of the future. Through art and tech, LOOTY aim to change the narrative of how we view art and who gets to experience it. Beyond art restoration, the project delves deep into the philosophical question of globalised art access. In an increasingly interconnected world, not everybody has the privilege to view their own cultural heritage. This disparity has long persisted, especially for those from countries where artworks were taken. LOOTY will offer visitors of 1-54 a virtual AR version of the Rosetta Stone accessible via smartphones.

Coty Inc., one of the world’s largest beauty companies, has partnered with 1-54 to showcase innovative works by artists from across Africa for the launch of the organization’s most ambitious fragrance project to date Infiniment Coty Paris. Launching to consumers in Paris, London, and New York in early 2024, Infiniment Coty Paris has collaborated with a selection of artists to create art inspired by one of the 14 new fragrances. Designed to be stackable, each bottle makes up the complete canvas of artistic expression. The first artworks developed by artists Mous Lamrabat (Loft Art Gallery), Thandiwe Muriu (Gallery 193),Younes Khourassani (La Galerie 38), Deborah Segun (The Breeder) and Francisco Vidal (Gallery 193) for the collaboration will be unveiled during 1-54 London inside the Infiniment Coty Paris Gallery. At the center of this gallery visitors will be able to discover in avant-première extraordinary flowers showcasing the 14 fragrances from the collection.

1-54 is pleased to announce a global media partnership with ArtReview across London, New York and Marrakech. Founded in 1949, ArtReview is one of the world’s leading international contemporary art magazines, dedicated to expanding contemporary art’s audience and reach, and tracing the ways it interacts with culture in general.

Thanks to 1-54’s long-standing partnership with Artsy, visitors are also able to explore, connect with, and collect from all the galleries and artists online from 12 – 29 October at artsy.net/.

List of Participating Galleries

  • (S)ITOR (Paris, France)
  • 193 Gallery (Paris, France)
  • 50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
  • AFIKARIS (Paris, France)
  • Affinity Gallery (Lagos, Nigeria)
  • Afriart (Kampala, Uganda)
  • albertz benda (New York, United States of America)
  • Asfalto (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Berman Contemporary (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • BKhz (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Christophe Person (Paris, France)
  • Circle Art Gallery (Nairobi, Kenya)
  • DADA Gallery (Lagos, Nigeria / London, United Kingdom)
  • Doyle Wham (London, United Kingdom)
  • Eclectica Contemporary (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Efie Gallery (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
  • Foreign Agent (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Galerie Carole Kvasnevski (Paris, France / New York, United States of America)
  • Galerie Gomis (Brussels, Belgium)
  • Galerie La La Lande (Paris, France)
  • 110 Véronique Rieffel (Paris, France)
  • Galleria Anna Marra (Rome, Italy)
  • Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
  • Gallery Nosco (Brussels, Belgium)
  • Guns & Rain (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Hannah Traore Gallery (New York, United States of America)
  • Kalashnikovv Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Kanbi Projects (Rickmansworth, United Kingdom)
  • Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (London, United Kingdom / Berlin, Germany / Nevlunghavn, Norway / Miami, United States of America)
  • Krystel Ann Art (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • L’Atelier 21 (Casablanca, Morocco)
  • La Galerie 38 (Casablanca / Marrakech, Morocco)
  • Loeve&Co (Paris, France)
  • Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)
  • Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
  • Maāt Gallery (Paris, France)
  • MCC Gallery (Marrakech, Morocco)
  • Montresso* Art Foundation (Marrakech, Morocco)
  • MOVART (Lisbon, Portugal / Luanda, Angola)
  • Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
  • October Gallery (London, United Kingdom)
  • Perve Galeria (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Portas Vilaseca Galeria (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Primo Marella Gallery (Milan, Italy / Lugano, Switzerland)
  • Richard Saltoun Gallery (London, United Kingdom / Rome, Italy)
  • Sakhile&Me (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France / Cotonou, Benin)
  • SMO Contemporary Art (Lagos, Nigeria)
  • So Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)
  • TAFETA (London, United Kingdom)
  • The African Art Hub (TAAH) (London, United Kingdom)
  • The Gallery of Everything (London, United Kingdom)
  • THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE (Lisbon, Portugal / Luanda, Angola)
  • THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • UBUNTU Art Gallery (Cairo, Egypt)
  • Unit London (London, United Kingdom)
  • Versant Sud (Marseille, France)
  • Vigo Gallery (London, United Kingdom)
  • WHATIFTHEWORLD (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • HOA Galeria (São Paolo, Brazil)
  • Wunika Mukan Gallery (Lagos, Nigeria)

Press release from 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair