We concluded the end of our London art week, by attending the last day of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House and we were not disappointed. 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is in its 2nd year and is the 1st major fair dedicated to Contemporary African art internationally. The fair showcased both emerging and established artists through 27 carefully chosen galleries based in London, Europe Africa and America.
The fair had a good mixture of paintings and sculptures, which embraced and showed the cultural diversity in Africa. Africa may still be viewed as one big country with homogenous cultures. With fairs like 1:54, we hope it provides more awareness of Africa as a culturally rich and diverse continent with talented contemporary artists living in Africa and outside the continent, who are influenced by their African heritage and like any artists in many parts of the world, are also inspired by the pleasures in life, human suffering, political issues and social justice.
Here are some of our highlights from the fair.
Peju Alatise: We were really excited by the work of Peju Alatise, a mixed medium artist, represented by a Lagos base Gallery, Art Twenty One. We love Peju’s work titled Missing. It consists of 86 panels of 33cmx33cm per panel of Acrylic & Textile on canvas, which was sold out at the exhibition.
Missing belong was inspired by the on-going issue of girls still being kidnapped and sold as sex slaves across the Nigerian borders, which has been going on much longer than the kidnapping of 234 girls from chibok caught international attention and sparked the #Bringbackourgirls protest.
Girl Interrupted below is part of Peju’s on-going ‘Child not bride campaign’, which deals with the protection of the rights of young girls.
Mustafa Maluka: The other work we found fascinating was by Mustafa Maluka. An artist who studied cultural analysis. He was born in South Africa and lives and works in Helsinki Finland. He was represented by Denmark based gallery Mikael Anderson. I am not a fan of portraits, but I found this painting captivating and I was drawn into the internal being of the subject.
Fabrice Monteiro: The Waxology series by Fabrice Monteiro also caught our attention. Fabrice Monteiro trained to be an industrial engineer and is a model by profession. He was born in Belgium and lives and works in Dakar Senegal. He was represented by M.I.A Gallery. Monteiro’s portraiture is based on Anthropological investigations.
Here are some amazing sculptures from the fair
And some more great works….
Last, but not the least. Abdoulaye Konate (Mali 1953).