Arts and Culture

A glimpse into the 2019 edition of 1-54 London

A glimpse into the 2019 edition of 1-54 London
  • PublishedOctober 1, 2019

In association with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

With annual editions in London, New York and Marrakech, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has established itself as the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from the African continent and its diaspora. In October 2019, the fair will return to the heart of London, celebrating its seventh edition in the unique setting of Somerset House. 

This year will see the participation of 45 galleries from nineteen countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America. Over 140 emerging and established artists will be on show, presenting a wide variety of mediums and a diverse set of perspectives from all around the world. The fair will feature nine solo exhibitions by artists Louisa Marajo (espace d’art contemporain 14°N 61°W), Alexandria Smith (Galleria Anna Marra), Godfried Donkor (Gallery 1957), Prinston Nnanna (The Hole), Anton Kannemeyer (Huberty & Breyne Gallery), Chourouk Hriech (L’Atelier 21), Michaela Younge (Smith), Ibrahim El Salahi (Vigo Gallery), Mohau Modisakeng (Whatiftheworld), not to mention the very first solo show in the UK by the South African artist Mary Sibande, I Came Apart At The Seams, in partnership with Somerset House and running until January 2020.

Once again, the fair will be accompanied by the acclaimed 1-54 FORUM, an extensive programme of talks, events, film screenings and panel discussions exploring convergences across artistic and cultural production, critical thinking, and ideas. The 1-54 FORUM, organised by the first-time guest curator, Kerryn Greenberg, Head of International Collection Exhibitions at Tate, will be dedicated to the legacy of the pioneer figure, Bisi Silva (1962-2019), founding artistic director of the Centre of Contemporary Art (CCA) in Lagos, who championed women artists and experimental artistic practices, nurturing the growth and the recognition of contemporary African art across the world.

Over the course of four afternoons, 1-54 FORUM will gather together many of the people who benefitted from Silva’s wise counsel and unwavering support, to continue the conversations she was at the centre of before her untimely demise in February 2019.

From the youngest participants in the fair to solo show artists and the ones who cannot be missed at 1-54 this year, below are ones to watch:



Represented by L’Atelier 21 : Born 1977 in France : Lives and works in Marseille, France

Chourouk Hriech exclusively practises black and white drawing and uses medias that are as diverse as they are singular, including paper, walls and everyday objects. Her work transcends time and space by reshaping modern and ancient architectural motifs while setting up, simultaneously, imaginary spaces and mental architectures.

Chourouk Hriech, Les apparitions #1, Indian ink on paper, 77 x 57 cm, 2019. Courtesy L’Atelier 21




Represented by TAFETA : Born 1993 in Lagos, Nigeria : Lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria

By using charcoal and graphite on paper, Arinze Stanley creates hyper-realistic portraits at a larger-than-life scale, detailing his subjects’ skin and body so that the result is nearly indistinguishable from a black and white photograph. Applying a surgical precision, the artist captures powerful emotions and surreal, stolen moments.

Arinze Stanley, Machine Man 3, Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol paper, 73.6 x 73.6 cm. Courtesy of the artist & TAFETA




Represented by Space d’art Contemporain 14N 61W : Born 1987 in Martinique : Lives and works in Paris, France

Louisa Marajo’s mysterious artworks offer declinations of white, grey and black on composite materials, wood, paper and brushed aluminium. Real space and imaginary space intertwine, contaminate, build and deconstruct themselves permanently. This universe is made of crosses, entanglement, which give birth to a work of an abundant purity.

Louisa Marajo, Residual, 2019, Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 33 cm. Courtesy espace d’art contemporain 14N 61W




Represented by Claire Oliver Gallery : Born 1973 in West Orange, USA : Lives and works in West Orange, USA

Bisa Butler’s vibrantly coloured, life-scale quilted portraits of African-Americans create a compelling presence, often returning the viewer’s gaze. By embracing techniques that were conventionally relegated to the realm of ‘women’s crafts’, Butler’s visual storytelling combines painterly high decoration and an exploration of community and spirituality.

Bisa Butler, I Am Not Your Negro, 2019, Quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, 183 x 127 cm. Courtesy Claire Oliver Gallery




Represented by Lawrie Shabibi : Born 1959 in Edinburgh, UK : Lives and works in London, UK

Locke explores the languages of colonial and post-colonial power by using a wide range of mixed media. His prolific political work has graced the world’s leading art shows and spaces for more than three decades, being acquired by collections at the Tate, London and the MET, New York.

Hew Locke, Golden Horde 5, 2006, Mixed media, including Plastic, Metal, Textile & Wood. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi




Represented by Nil Gallery : Born 1995 in Accra, Ghana : Lives and works in Accra, Ghana

Purposefully straying away from professional cameras, Prince uses his iPhone to capture resiliency and strength through his silhouettes juxtaposed against brightly-altered landscapes and vivid backgrounds. His art showcases the nobility and grace of black skin, offering a counter-narrative to dominant notions of beauty.

Prince Gyasi, Bondage, 2018, Fuji Crystal Archive Brilliant, 46 x 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Nil Gallery




Represented by Luce Gallery : Born 1980 in Palo Alto, USA : Lives and works in New York, USA

By fusing unconventional industrial materials with traditional pigment and woodblock printing techniques, McCloud creates rich, large-scale abstract paintings and sculptural objects that explore generally unaccepted notions of beauty.

Hugo McCloud, Untitled, 2019, Plastic merchandise bags on wood panel, 124.4 x 93.9 cm. Courtesy of Luce Gallery and the artist




Represented by Guns & Rain : Born 1967 in Johannesburg, South Africa : Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

Bev Butkow’s work explores whether engaging in a sustained process of making objects can expose the embodied experience of the gendered labouring body. The artist creates abstracted woven, painted, entangled sculptures and mixed media works that consider the experience of gendered embodiment, primarily around socially-encoded expectations of women, women’s labour and its invisibility.

Bev Butkow, Entanglement I, 2019, Weave with beads on printed canvas, 50 x 50 cm. Courtesy Guns & Rain




Represented by Selma Feriani Gallery : Born 1958 in Tunis, Tunisia : Lives and works in Tunis, Tunisia

Jellel Gasteli documents French-Tunisian culture through photography. In an ongoing quest for impressions and encounters, he captures moments throughout his worldly travels, collecting tableaux of intimacy, landscapes, and cultural terrains.

Jellel Gasteli, Barkhanes No.I, 2018, From the series, Barkhanes, Pigment inkjet print on Hahnemühle digital fine art paper, 125 x 125 cm, Edition 3 of 5. Courtesy Selma Feriani Gallery




Represented by Tiwani Contemporary : Born 1994 in London, UK : Lives and works in London, UK

Among the youngest participants this year, Michaela Yearwood-Dan investigates around class, race, gender, culture and nature. Her cultural upbringing influences the context of the paintings that she makes, those featuring two versions of themselves: one vibrant and botanical, paying homage to her bright Caribbean heritage, whilst the other represents monochromatic elements, referencing archival photographs of black livelihood.


Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Nuestro Planeta Roto, 2019, Acrylic, ink, oil and charcoal on canvas, 170 x 120 cm. Courtesy Tiwani Contemporary




Represented by Afronova Gallery : Born 1991 in Cape Town, South Africa : Lives and works between Cape Town, South Africa and London, UK

Alice Mann’s intimate portraiture essays explore notions of picture making as an act of collaboration. She aims to create images that empower her subjects and creates projects over extended periods, allowing for engaged and nuanced representations. Her work has been published in international publications including the Guardian, The New Yorker and the British Journal of Photography.

Alice Mann, Keisha Ncube, 2017, Inkjet print on archival Hanemuhle photorag, 66 x 55 cm, edition of 5. Courtesy Afronova Gallery




Represented by Smith : Born 1993 in Cape Town, South Africa : Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa

Younge’s felt compositions are darkly hedonistic, with bare legs and bars, cars and cowboys, pin-up girls and cut-out ones. She meticulously pricks and sticks each scene into shape, working dyed Merino wool into a felt backing with a barbed needle; stabbing death and drama into its very fibre.

Michaela Younge, Equine Peep Show, 2019 Merino wool on felt, 65 x 96 cm. Courtesy Smith




Represented by Whatiftheworld : Born 1986 in Johannesburg, South Africa : Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

Mohau Modisakeng’s images are not direct representations of violence, but powerful yet poetic invocations where the body is transformed into a poignant marker of collective memory. Through film, large-scale photographic prints, installations and performance, Modisakeng’s work responds to the history of the black body within the South African context, which is inseparably intertwined with the violence of the Apartheid era and the early 1990s.

Mohau Modisakeng, Zion 8, 2018, Inkjet print on Epson Hot Press Natural, 135 x 170 cm. Edition of 6 + 2AP. Courtesy Whatiftheworld




Represented by Gallery Nosco : Born 1984 in Kuwait City, Kuwait : Lives and works between Cairo and New York

Through both traditional and non-traditional media, Ibrahim Ahmed narrates his journey as an artist and migrant. His multidisciplinary practice challenges the artificiality of borders and questions the perceived authenticity and rigidity of national identities.


Ibrahim Ahmed, What Comes After, Bring Peace To This Restlessness No.9, 2018, Collage on paper, 50 x 40 cm. Courtesy Gallery Nosco




Represented by Yossi Milo Gallery : Born 1943 in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso : Lives and works in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso

Sory’s black and white images document the cultural revolution of a newly independent Burkina Faso among the 60s and 70s. His body of work demonstrates the medium’s unique place in the daily construction of Burkinabé identities and aspirations,  and the gradual urbanisation of a young generation growing apart from rural society while carrying over its rich traditions. 

Sanlé Sory, Jeune militant UNDD (Union Nationale pour la Démocratie et le Développement), 1972, Gelatin Silver Print, Approx. 112 x 130 cm. Edition of 9  © Sanlé Sory, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York




Represented by SMAC : Born 1982 in Barbeton, South Africa : Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

Best known for her photography and sculptures that explore the construction of identity and the reclamation of the black female body in a post-colonial and post-Apartheid South African context, Mary Sibande will present new works in her first solo show in the UK, held in conjunction with  1-54: I Came Apart At The Seams.

Mary Sibande, They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To, 2008, Produced 2019, Archival Digital Print, 86 x 130 cm. Edition of 10. Courtesy SMAC © Mary Sibande




Represented by Tiwani Contemporary : Born 1980 in Luanda, Angola : Lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal and Milan, Italy

In his photographic work, Délio Jasse often interweaves found images with clues from past lives, from found passport photos to family albums. Jasse uses these ephemera to draw links between photography, in particular the concept of the ‘latent image’, and memory.

Délio Jasse, Sem Valor – Urgente, 2019, Photographic emulsion on cotton rag paper, with handwritten gold leaf embossing, 130 x 95 cm. Courtesy Tiwani Contemporary



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