Arts + Culture

1:54 London: A Preview Of Europe's Leading Contemporary African Art Fair

15 incredible artworks from the 2015 edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London

Omar Victor Diop. Ikhlas Khan, Diaspora series, 2015. Pigment inkjet printing on Harman By Hahnemuhle paper. 120 x 80 cm. Courtesy of Magnin-A, Paris.


After making its New York debut in May, Europe's leading contemporary African art fair returns to London's Somerset House this week for its third and most ambitious edition. Taking place Thursday through Sunday in conjunction with Frieze Week, 1:54 will showcase art from 33 exhibitors and over 150 artists from across Africa and the diaspora.

Running alongside the fair is a full program of keynote lectures, artist talks, panel discussions, book launches and film screenings known as FORUM. Curated by Cameroonian-born exhibition maker and curator Koyo Kouoh (founding artistic director of the Dakar-based Raw Material Company) and Omar Berrada, this year's series will focus on the topic of artistic production in North Africa, interrogating the invisible border between the Maghreb, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1:54, expanded on this theme: “Focusing this year on North Africa and the perceived border between the so-called Maghreb and the countries south of the Sahara, FORUM will move to consider experiences of migration and movement across the conceptual border of the Sahara which remains in the consciousness of many, a artistic, cultural and social divide. FORUM will hear from an array of artists working or living within North Africa and Southern Africa, providing all-important insight into their artistic practices in relation to this imposed demarcation.”

Below, we preview a selection of artworks on display at 1:54 in London this weekend.

1:54 Contemporary African Fair takes place Thursday, October 15, through Sunday, October 18, at Somerset House in London. Tickets are available to purchase online via Eventbrite. Keep up with 1:54 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their official website.

Zahrin Kahlo. Passage, 2015. Photo Rag® Matt 308 g/m² 30 x 30 cm. Courtesy of GVCC.

Sokari Douglas Camp. Walworth Lady, 2008. Steel. 50 x 17 x 18 cm. Courtesy of October Gallery.

Otobong Nkanga. Shaping Memory, 2012-2014. Lambda print. 120 x 90 cm (136 x 105 cm framed). Edition of 5 ex + 2 AP. Courtesy of the artist & Galerie In Situ - fabienne leclerc.

Namsa Leuba. Untitled I, Cocktail Series, 2011. Fibre pigment print. 69.56 x 84.1 cm. Courtesy of Art Twenty One.

Mimi Cherono Ng'ok. Untitled, No one but you (Dakar) series, 2014. Inkjet print on cotton rag paper. 120 x 120 cm, edition of 6. Courtesy of Fondation Donwahi.

Meriem Bouderbala. Scars III, 2012. C-type print. 125 x 175 cm. Courtesy of GVCC.

Mauro Pinto. ultimo testamente, 2012. Pigment print on cotton rag paper, edition of 4. 155 x 110 cm. Courtesy of Afronova.

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou. Untitled Triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

C - print. 150 x 100 cm. Edition of 5 + 2 AP. Courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery.

JP Mika. Prétendant sapeur (le prestigieux enfant), 2015. Acrylic on canvas. 168 x 118 cm. Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Hassan Musa. Moneytheism, 2014. Ink on textiles. 163 x 258 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Maïa Muller.

Fabrice Monteiro. Prophecy VII, 2014. Digital Print. 100 x 170 cm, edition of 5. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Ayana V. Jackson. Case # 33 VI, 2013. Archival pigment print, edition of 6 + 3 A.P

89 x 68 cm. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Fabrice Monteiro. Prophecy VII, 2014. Digital Print. 100 x 170 cm, edition of 5. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

ruby oyinyechi amanze. Waiting for Nothing, 2015. Colored Pencil, Ink, Photo Trasnfers, Metallic Pigment. 76 x 111 cm. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Spotlight
Photo by NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A Year After #EndSARS, Nigerian Youth Maintain That Nothing Has Changed

Despite the disbandment of the SARS units, young Nigerians are still being treated as criminals. We talk to several of them about their experiences since the #EndSARS protests.

On September 12th, Tobe, a 22-year-old student at the University of Nigeria's Enugu Campus was on his way to Shoprite to hang out with his friends when the tricycle he had boarded was stopped by policemen. At first, Tobe thought they were about to check the driver's documents, but he was wrong. "An officer told me to come down, he started searching me like I was a criminal and told me to pull down my trousers, I was so scared that my mind was racing in different ways, I wasn't wearing anything flashy nor did I have an iPhone or dreads — things they would use to describe me as a yahoo boy," he says.

They couldn't find anything on him and when he tried to defend himself, claiming he had rights, one of the police officers slapped him. "I fell to the ground sobbing but they dragged me by the waist and took me to their van where they collected everything including my phone and the 8,000 Naira I was with."

Luckily for Tobe, they let him go free after 2 hours. "They set me free because they caught another pack of boys who were in a Venza car, but they didn't give me my money completely, they gave me 2,000 Naira for my transport," he says.

It's no news that thousands of Nigerian youth have witnessed incidents like Tobe's — many more worse than his. It's this helpless and seemingly unsolvable situation which prompted the #EndSARS protests. Sparked after a viral video of a man who was shot just because he was driving an SUV and was mistaken as a yahoo boy, the #EndSARS protests saw millions of young Nigerians across several states of the country come out of their homes and march against a system has killed unfathomable numbers of people for invalid or plain stupid reasons. The protests started on October 6th, 2020 and came to a seize after a tragedy struck on October 20th of the same year.

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