In a year that has been marked by cancelations, some good news has arrived for the art world. The popular 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will return to London for an eighth edition at its regular spot in Somerset House.
“The decision to go ahead with 1-54 London this coming October started first with the enthusiasm of our galleries to participate in a physical art fair followed by the announcement of the UK regulations regarding trade fairs going back to normal starting the 1st of October,” fair director and founder, Touria El Glaoui, told Arab News.
Born and raised in Morocco, after beginning a career in the banking industry and working as a wealth management consultant, she founded the annual 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in 2013 as a way of consolidating the rich art scenes on the African continent and generated by the African diaspora. The fair now has three annual editions in London, New York and Marrakech.
Alongside a scaled-down version of the fair presenting 20 international galleries — about half the amount of last year’s event — the fair will also show online in partnership with Christie’s.
The collaboration reveals Christie’s commitment to presenting contemporary African art to their global client base. Selected works from the fair will be exhibited in Christie’s King Street galleries throughout October.
“1-54 has become a definitive moment in London’s art calendar, and we are delighted and proud to partner with this fair,” said Dirk Boll, president, Christie’s Europe, Middle East, Russia and India, in a statement.
“Together we will provide a ground-breaking platform that allows participating galleries to showcase more artists and more artworks, thus continuing the fair’s ever-expanding capabilities for bringing the very best contemporary African art to an international audience,” he said.
The fair will once again be accompanied by 1-54 Forum, its extensive program of artists’ talks, film screenings and panel discussions that will be curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba from C& and take place both at Somerset House and online.
“We are very excited to go ahead with our 8th edition at Somerset House, but of course monitoring very closely all new changes that could impact our galleries and making sure we stay very flexible,” El Glaoui said.
Visitors will need to comply with 1-54’s health and safety measures implemented in collaboration with Somerset House and in compliance with UK regulations.
Strict sanitary measures will be in place to ensure everyone’s health and security, including a one-way circuit through the fair, time-slot ticketing and VIP access system, which visitors need to pre-book online. The fair will provide hand sanitizer, cleaning measures, hands-free systems and limited capacity control at all times.
In September the fair will announce full details of its safety measures and visitor experiences. A list of participating galleries will also be announced then.