Having beaten all the odds last year and still put on a show, 1-54 has never been off our radar. Back with a bang this year, keep your eyes for the below galleries and the exceptional artists they are highlighting this year.
A star at every 1-54 Art Fair, Ghana and London based Gallery 1957 is not disappointing us this year, with an incredible group presentation led by young Ghanaian artist Afia Prempeh, who is completing a residency at the gallery’s Accra based studio. Her vivid, eye-catching depiction of Kwaku and Osei Tutu Prempeh will be hard to miss. Swing by Gallery 1957’s booth for this and further amazing works by architect turned artist Arthur Timothy’s love letter to his family, as well as old favourites like Godfried Donkor, Serge Attukwei Clottey and Lord Ohene, amongst others. The Gallery had dedicated its programme to spearheading international exchanges between contemporary West African art practices and the rest of the world, and remains our first stop at 1-54.
We have been a fan of young Nigerian curator and gallertist Dolly Kola-Balogun‘s for a long time and her Retro Africa booth at this year’s 1-54, is yet another cacophony of bright colours and joy. Representing William Checet, this Kano-born Nigerian pop artist and graphic designer is influenced by culture, afro-beats and his North Nigerian heritage. These bright, stand-out pieces in the collection ‘We Are The North’ are bound to be a sell-out at the show, as a perfect balance between modernity and history.
Although not necessarily a booth, we had to throw light on this incredible artist as Lakwena has been selected by the 2021 edition of the 1-54 Sculpture Commission. In collaboration with the Vigo Gallery, keep your eyes peeled for 20 large, bold, bright and beautiful pieces, in Maciver’s signature style. Following a public installation in Covent Garden, Maciver’s Nothing Can Separate Us flags will also be found all along the Somerset Hall west corridor.
Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery
As a forever champion of African and specifically Ghanaian art, Rufai Zakari at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery could not be missed from our roundup. Zakari tackles consumerism, pollution, labour and trade in Ghanaian society in his pieces. The gallery is also presenting the ever popular Gerald Chukwuma, as well as Tewodros Hagos, Dawit Abebe and Lincoln Mwangi.
Jack Bell Gallery
Artists from Jack Bell gallery have been presented all over the world, from the Venice Biennale to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to the Saatchi Gallery, to name a few. Acquisitions have also been numerous, from V&A London, to Stedelijk Amsterdam and many many more. This year, we are particularly excited about Jack Bell’s artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, who we have previously interviewed. Ajarb is a Cameroonian artist who in his recent work, has focused on a local perspective of self representation, and has introduced water colours as a contrast to his normal hard-line execution.
Located next to Centre Pompidou in Paris, AFIKARIS gallery is all about exposing unknown African talent at exhibitions, art fairs and collaborations with cultural institutions. This Parisian gallery focuses on amplifying the voice of its artists, and is representing Salifou Lindou, Omar Mahfoudi, Nana Yaw Oduro and Moustapha Baida Oumarou this year. Keep your eyes peeled for Mahfoudi’s ‘Golden Oasis #9’, it took our breath away.