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1.54 London returns bigger, better


One of the works at the show

1.54 London which continues to revolutionise the space of African contemporary art, now in its seventh year, is has returned, this time, it is featuring 45 international galleries, 16 of which are from Africa, some of them exhibiting for the first time, and this is hugely important for the further development of African contemporary art, especially in the area of networking.

The great aspect of the fair is the range and diversity of work on show — the whole spectrum of artistic practice is covered.

This year’s courtyard commission, which is something most regular visitors look forward to, is by Angolan artist, Kiluanji Kia Henda, and is titled, The Fortress. It forms part of the series, A City Called Mirage, and serves as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of human constructions. It was inspired by the erosion and transience that Kia witnessed in the Angolan desert.


In addition to the galleries, there is also the 1.54 Forum, which is the fair’s extensive talks programme, encompassing film screenings, panel discussions with artists, international curators and the culture cognoscenti.

Kerryn Greenberg, Head of International Collection Exhibition at Tate, curated this edition.

1.54 Forum 2019 has been dedicated to Bisi Silva (1962 to 2019) the inspirational curator and founder of the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos (CCA Lagos). Bisi championed experimental artistic practice, prioritised research publishing and nurtured the next generation of curators, artists and art historians in Africa

Nigeria’s presence at the fair was pretty significant as SMO Contemporary Art Lagos is showing works of Tyna Adebowale and Kelani Abass, while Tafetta London is exhibiting works by Victor Etuk, Nkechi Ebubedike, Babatunde Olatunji, Niyi Olagunju and Arinze Stanley.

Artists showing with various other galleries includes Peju Alatishe, Ifeoma U Anyaeji, Osi Audu, Ranti Bam, Gerald Chukwuma, Adebumi Gbadebo, Wura -Natasha Ogunji, Neena Okore, and Yinka Shonibare.


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