By Damali and Nii B. Andrews

Contemporary African art (CAA) continues to bask in the international spotlight.

Late last year, the Zeitz MOCAA opened in Cape Town to great reviews.

This month the internationally acclaimed 1:54 art fair comes to Africa for the first time; it runs from February 24 -25.

The venue?

Marrakech- the Ochre City and specifically at the legendary, ultra posh La Mamounia Hotel.

An increasingly astute and growing band of African collectors from Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Cameroon are expected to retrace the ancient trade routes to Marrakech.

COMPOSITION: Edith Taioni, mixed media, signed and dated. Courtesy of the artist.

So also are major seasoned and stalwart collectors from Europe – mainly France and Belgium. Many of them already keep exclusive second homes in Marrakech.

DANCER: Ablade Glover, Gouache on black bond sheet, 41 x 56 cm, 1969, signed not dated. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

The major collectors have been buoyed by an excellent VIP program that cashes in on the allure of the famous Ochre City – the Jewel of the South.

BEACH TIME: Max Boadi, acrylic on canvas, 101.5 x 127cm, 2017, signed and dated. Private collection.

A total of 17 big and important international galleries will be exhibiting. Ten are from Europe and three from Morocco.

The presence of prominent international dealers on the African scene could prove a boon for African artists.

KAPITAL HOUR: Alfred Mensah (Klan Mensa), acrylic on canvas, 143 x 80 cm, ?2011, signed left lower corner, not dated. Private collection.

There have been two high profile museum openings in Marrakech within the last twelve months. They are the MACAAL and the YSL Museum.

These are important additions to an already vibrant gallery scene for CAA that includes the Matisse Gallery, David Bloch, Galerie 127, Design and Co, Noir sur Blanc and Comptoir des Mines.

MOOD OF EXPECTATION: Andrew Torso Yao, ink on paper, 39 x 46 cm, 2017, signed and dated. Private collection, purchased from the artist.

And of course we must never forget the ancient Medina where in an astonishing tribute to the human spirit, breathtaking traditional and contemporary designs cohabit a unique space.

Food, architecture, design, style, craft, classy nightlife and high art are all brought to pinnacle heights in this city and it has remained so for centuries.

Pit stop in a rug bazaar, Marrakech Medina.

Marrakech is a superlative choice – a natural host with the swag needed to launch the prestigious 1:54 Fair’s African homecoming.

This particular edition in Marrakech, should propel the fair to even greater heights.

Manicured lawn, mature olive trees, date palms, pool + pool house; serene Family home in Palmeraie.
Stomping in the Medina, right by the Palais Bahia.
Roof terrace detail in a 19th century refurbished riad.

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