By Nii B. Andrews.
In the midst of the raging pandemic, the internationally acclaimed 1-54 Art fair which focuses on CAA enjoyed an innovative and successful debut in Paris from January 20 – 23.
This premier edition was in partnership with Christie’s with the physical exhibition located within Christie’s HQ at Avenue Matignon.
In October 2020 there was a successful first collaboration between 1-54 and Christie’s in London.
Touria El Glaoui, founding director of the 1-54 explained the fair’s Paris debut as follows:
“Whilst we’re sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie’s.
1-54’s vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new.
Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie’s and many more from around the world to our online fair in January.”
From January 23 – 30, the fair continued solely online, displaying 20 international galleries from 15 countries showcasing works by over 70 artists from the African continent and its diaspora.
Participants included 31 PROJECT from Paris; London-based 50 Golborne; Loft Art Gallery from Casablanca; Cape Town-based THK Gallery; Gallery 1957 from Accra, Ghana and London, U.K.; POLARTICS from Lagos, Nigeria; Galerie Cécile Fakhoury from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar, Senegal; and This Is Not a White Cube from Luanda, Angola.
Also featured was a multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings.
Over the course of four days, the fair reported 1,750 visitors to the physical showing at Christie’s—the maximum it could accommodate based on the capacity per hour slots.
1-54 continues to be a resilient force in promoting CAA even as the international art fair calendar continues to be defined by the uncertainty propelled by the pandemic.