Event: 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair (4-7th October: Somerset House, London)

Save the Date!

04-07 October 2018: London

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair returns for its sixth edition at Somerset House with an expanded programme of exhibitions, special projects and talks.

Founded in 2013, 1-54 is the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. This autumn marks 1-54’s sixth consecutive edition at Somerset House, having returned from its fourth New York edition this May.


1-54 Logo (Image courtesy of 1-54)

The fair will welcome leading galleries from countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

As part of 1-54, there is a bringing together of new and rarely seen works from internationally renowned South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga. Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions, Anthi-Patra Ruga’s exhibition, runs from 4 October to 7 January 2019 and is free admission. In the exhibition, Ruga brings three recent series of work together for the first time to unveil a surreal, mythical utopia, filled with a collection of extraordinary characters.


Zina Saro-Wiwa.
‘Table Manners’.  1-54 Fair, October 2018.
(Image Courtesy Tiwani Contemporary, 1-54)

For more information about the fair, visit the 1-54 homepage and/or Somerset House’s webpage here. And, follow 1-54 on their Facebook Page


This year’s edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be accompanied by a compelling series of Special Projects and FORUM, the fair’s talks programme, curated for the first time by writer Ekow Eshun.

This year’s FORUM takes the motif of freefall as a point of departure from which to explore black artistic practice as a strategy of innovation, resistance and liberation. The concept of freefall has been established by a range of cultural makers as a way to interrogate ideas of blackness.

There are the numerous references to flight and falling as a marker of freedom, self-knowledge and transcendence in the novels of Toni Morrison. Artworks, such as Steve McQueen’s Carib’s Leap (2002) and Dancing on Air (1989) by Emma Amos are built upon allusions to the black body in motion and in peril. And there is Arthur Jafa’s observation that black people ‘create culture in freefall, but we also create kinship in freefall.’

In works such as these, and in Jafa’s formulation, the shared history of black people across the diaspora is marked by repeated efforts to deny them identity, agency and humanity. It is a history that stretches back to the slave trade and extends to modern times.

Over the course of four afternoons FORUM will bring together artists, curators and scholars to address key questions and topics, such as: Can we understand black visual culture, not by seeking to define a black aesthetic, but by reconceptualising blackness as aesthetics? And what do recent surveys show of African photography rand ideas of ‘Africanness’?

To find out more about FORUM, to see a list of contributors, and for updates on the full programme, visit 1-54 here

Book the day you would like to visit 1-54 Art Fair now!
Early bird offer: £15
Dates: 04 to 07 October 2018.
Location: Somerset House, London. South, East & West Wings.

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