1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has announced the 42 galleries from 21 countries exhibiting in its sixth London edition, taking place at Somerset House, 4-7 October 2018 (preview on Wednesday 3 October). As part of the programme of Special Projects, 1-54 is partnering with Somerset House to present an exhibition of new and rarely seen works by the internationally renowned South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga, which will run through to 7 January 2019.
Over the past six years 1-54 has established itself as a leading voice in the global discussion on contemporary African art. 1-54 brings together a diverse set of perspectives from around the world, and has carefully selected 42 leading galleries specialising in contemporary art from 21 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America: Angola, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Among the exhibitors this year there are 16 galleries from Africa: Addis Fine Art, AFRONOVA GALLERY, AGorgi Gallery, ARTLabAfrica, Circle Art Gallery, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Gallery 1957, Loft Art Gallery, Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art, MOV’ART Gallery, Retro Africa, Selma Feriani Gallery, SMAC Gallery, SMO Contemporary Art, VOICE gallery, WHATIFTHEWORLD.
Of the 42 exhibitors, 11 galleries will be welcomed to the London fair for the first time: ADN Galeria, Art Bärtschi & Cie, Burning in Water, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Gallery Nosco, HUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERY, James Cohan, Kristin Hjellegjerde, Loft Art Gallery, MOV’ART Gallery, Retro Africa and Yossi Milo Gallery.
The fair will showcase the work of more than 130 emerging and established artists, working in a wide variety of mediums and from a range of geographical backgrounds comprising 33 countries: Algeria, Angola, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the Unites States and Zimbabwe.
Ten solo exhibitions have been announced: Omar Ba (Art Bärtschi & Cie), Marion Boehm (ARTCO Gallery), Atta Kwami (Beardsmore Gallery), Esther Mahlangu (Burning in Water), Wonga Mancoba (Galerie Mikael Anderson), Youssef Nabil (Galerie Nathalie Obadia), Ibrahim Ahmed (Gallery Nosco), Anton Kannemeyer (HUBERTY & BREYNE GALLERY), Ailou Diack ((S)ITOR / Sitor Senghor) and Mongezi Ncaphayi (SMAC Gallery).
Building on the success of their expanded programme of non-profit Special Projects for the 2017 edition of the London fair, 1-54 will present a number of collateral exhibitions in Somerset House, including Athi-Patra Ruga’s inaugural UK solo exhibition, Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions, which brings together three bodies of work, presenting a surreal, mythical utopia filled with vibrant characters. Represented by Cape Town-based gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD, Ruga forms a critique of post-apartheid political, cultural and social systems through drawing, sculpture, film, tapestry and performance, to present a possible humanist vision of the future. The free exhibition is presented in partnership with Somerset House, launching alongside the fair and continuing through to 7 January 2019.
For the sixth year in a row, 1-54 will be accompanied by FORUM, the fair’s extensive talks and events programme, including artists talks, film screenings and panel discussions with international curators, artists and cultural producers. 1-54 FORUM will be curated for the first time, by writer and curator Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group and Creative Director of Calvert 22 Foundation. FORUM at 1-54 London 2018 will be sponsored by Christie’s Education.
Founding Director of 1-54, Touria El Glaoui, commented: “We are so proud of how far we have come since our first London fair in 2013. Following the launch of our inaugural Marrakech fair in February and our fourth New York edition in May, we have gone on to develop new audiences for contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora across three fairs and three different continents. The growth and popularity of the fair is a real testament to the shift away from Euro-centric art-historical narratives.”