1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Returns this October with its Biggest Show Yet

  • Europe’s leading Contemporary African Art Fair returns to Somerset House for a third year (15 – 18 October 2015)
  • Follows successful New York debut earlier this year
  • Bigger than ever before, the fair will now feature 38 exhibitors to showcase work by more than 150 African artists across the East, West and South Wings
  • An extensive programme of talks with thought-leaders from across the art world hosted by 1:54’s FORUM curated by Koyo Kouoh
  • Press preview at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA: 8.30am - Noon on 14 October. RSVP to 154@kallaway.com 
  • For press enquiries and images, please contact emma.collins@kallaway.com

London, 16 July 2015. Following a successful New York debut earlier this year, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is set to return to London this October (15 - 18) to present its most substantial showcase yet. Taking place once again in the historic setting of Somerset House, the fair takes on an additional third wing this year and will feature 38 exhibitors representing more than 150 contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora.  

The fair will present an opportunity to discover and appreciate contemporary African art in mediums including painting, sculpture, photography and installation with a cross-section of works from across the continent. Highlights of artists (and their galleries) include:

  • Otobong Nkanga (In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc) – an Art Review FutureGreat
  • Sammy Baloji (Axis Gallery) – designing an in-situ installation for the gallery at the fair
  • Ibrahim El Salahi (Vigo Gallery) – one of the leading figures that launched Tate modern’s outlook on African and Arab modernism with his inaugural exhibition “A Visionary Modernist”
  • Athi-Patra Ruga (In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc) – winner, 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Performance Art
  • Edson Chagas (APALAZZOGALLERY) – winnner of the Golden Lion with the Angolan Pavillion at the 55th Venice Biennale and soon to exhibit at MoMa.
  • Other highlights of this year’s fair inlcude: Aboudia (Galerie Cecile Fakhoury), Boris Nzebo (Jack Bell Gallery), Gonçalo Mabunda (Jack Bell Gallery), Ibrahim Mahama (APALAZZOGALLERY), Meschac Gaba (In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc), Romuald Hazoumè (October Gallery), Sokari Douglas Camp CBE (October Gallery), Virginia Chihota (Tiwani Contemporary)and many more.

Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1:54 says:

“It’s a great feeling to be announcing our return to London with a collection of galleries and artists of this calibre. The response to having doubled in size last year and debuted in New York has been overwhelming and as a result, some of the most inspiring contemporary artists from Africa will be represented at the fair. 1:54 London 2015 will continue to celebrate the diversity and growing popularity of art from Africa’s 54 countries and we hope that more people will visit and discover the quality of work being produced in the region and by its diaspora.”

As well as 32 galleries, 1:54 will feature four special projects and two solo shows including a unique lounge area designed by Hassan Hajjaj’s Morrocan based Larrache Studio. The individual shows include Kapwani Kiwanga’s Flowers for Africa, an exhibition celebrating the independence of the 54 African countries through the reproduction of flower arrangements and a Kinshasa street life photography exhibition by Congolese artist Kiripi Katembo.

Over the past three years, 1:54 has established itself as a leading voice on contemporary African art. 1:54 will host its hugely popular FORUM programme – a three-day critical conversations series comprising of artist talks, panel discussions and film screenings curated by Koyo Kouoh, Artistic Director of RAW Material Companyand curator of 2016 EVA International,Ireland’s BiennialWith a focus on North Africa this year,discussion topics will include the current trajectories of contemporary African artistic production and practice. The conversations will explore the cultural diversity of artistic traditions that form the rich universe of the African experience.

The fair will be designed by award-winning architectural and design studio RA Projects (Rashid Ali). RA Projects will insert a series of richly coloured sculptural interventions across the East, South, and West Wings of Somerset House.

Online platform Artsy will be producing an extensive digital catalogue of the fair at Artsy.net and on the Artsy iPhone app making it possible to experience the fair around the world.

List of exhibitors 

(S)itor, Paris 
Afronova, Johannesburg
Art Twenty One, Lagos
ArtLabAfrica, Nairobi
ARTCO Gallery, Aachen
Axis Gallery, New York
CIRCA Gallery, Johannesburg
Ed Cross Fine Art, London
Fondation Donwahi, Abidjan
Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan
Galerie Jérôme Poggi, Paris
Galerie Maïa Muller, Paris
Galerie MAM, Douala 
GALLERY AOP, Johannesburg
Galleri Flach, Stockholm
GVCC, Casablanca
In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc, Paris
Jack Bell Gallery, London
Johans Borman Fine Art, Cape Town
KooVha Gallery, Harare
Magnin-A, Paris
Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle
October Gallery, London
Omenka Gallery, Lagos
Primo Marella Gallery, Milan
Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid
Selma Feriani Gallery, Tunis
Tamar Golan Gallery, Luanda
Tiwani Contemporary, London
Vigo Gallery, London


BASMOCA (Basma Al Sulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art), Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 
Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Benin
Hassan Hajjaj, Larrache Studio, Marrakech
Qubeka Bead Studio, Cape Town, South Africa 


Notes to editors

Media contacts:

Website: 1-54.com
Twitter: twitter.com/154artfair
Facebook: facebook.com/154ContemporaryAfricanArtFair
Instagram: instagram.com/154artfair

@154artfair | #154artfair 


Touria El Glaoui
+44 78 0369 7138 / + 44 20 8144 3694

Somerset House

Josephine Rodrigues
+44 20 7845 4638

Further information

1:54 has new opening hours, and is open to the public from Thursday 16 October to Sunday 19 October. The 1:54 preview is on Wednesday 15 October.
Tickets available on the 1:54 website soon. 

About Touria El Glaoui – Founding Director of 1:54

Born and raised in Morocco, Touria El Glaoui is the daughter of one of the most revered living Moroccan artists, Hassan El Glaoui. She has organised and co-curated significant exhibitions of her father's work including a major retrospective in Casablanca and Meetings in Marrakech, a joint exhibition with Winston Churchill's paintings hosted in Leighton House, London. She has a life-long passion for African art. 

Touria holds an MBA in Strategic Management and International Business from Pace University, New York. She began her career in the banking industry as a wealth management consultant before moving to London in 2001 where she undertook various business development positions in the Telecom/IT industry. She has spent over five years working between London, various African countries and the Middle East in a business development capacity, and is a member of the Executive Committee of The Friends of Leighton House, London and a trustee of the Marrakech Biennial.  

About Somerset House

A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life.

From its 18th century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming to all and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries.

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached.

Somerset House now home to the biggest community of creative organisations in central London including the The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. They currently attract approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.