The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Returns Featuring South African Artists Lady Skollie, Blessing Ngobeni, Kendell Geers and Tsoku Maela

To kick off their 10-year anniversary celebrations, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora is delighted to announce its return to Paris, set to take place from 7-10 April 2022. In partnership with Christie’s for the second year running, the fair will take place in the auction house’s galleries at Avenue Matignon and will feature 23 international exhibitors with more than 50 artists on view, across both VIP and public days.

Fair goers will be able to engage with an exciting line-up of artists working across a breadth of mediums, ranging from photography, textile, painting, and installation. Highlights includes works by established artists such as Seydou Keïta (Galerie Nathalie Obadia) and Kendell Geers (didier CLAES) to young and up-and-coming artists including Emily Moore (DADA Gallery), Aboudia (Jack Bell Gallery), Adegboyega Adesina (The Breeder), and Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (African Arty). The fair will also be accompanied by 1-54 Forum, the fair’s multi-disciplinary programme of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings.

1-54 Paris at Christie’s will take place in the auction house’s galleries at Avenue Matignon and will feature 23 international exhibitors (3 more than its 2021 debut edition). 

In light of the current restrictions and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, 1-54 has decided to postpone its Marrakech edition until 2023 and continue its successful partnership with Christie’s to stage its physical fair in Paris for the second year running. 

The return of this special edition is part of the series of events planned for 1-54’s 10th edition celebration in London and will see an international line-up of galleries from across Africa and Europe, all of which were originally set to participate in the Marrakech fair. Taking over more exhibition space and hosting a greater number of galleries, the fair will be a larger event than last year’s in Paris, with both VIP and public days to engage with new and existing audiences.

Now in its third consecutive year, 1-54’s continued partnership with Christie’s signals the fair’s strong and dynamic relationship with the global auction house. The collaboration also demonstrates Christie’s commitment to showcasing contemporary African art to its global client base and enhancing exposure for the fair internationally. 

Thanks to 1-54’s long-standing partnership with Artsy, visitors are also able to explore, connect with, and collect from all the galleries and artists online from 7 – 14 April at artsy.net/1-54. 

Representing South Africa at the fair are Blessing Ngobeni, Lady Skollie, Kendell Geers and Tsoku Maela.

“I am very pleased to be part of 1-54 Paris this year, after years of wanting to share my visual experience, thoughts and ideas. Today this dream has surfaced, I am sure the space and walls where my work will be hung during the exhibit of such a high calibre, my characters will walk through the audience’s mind forever – especially those who first encounter the work in person. The work is best explained by its thought-provoking beauty from afar whilst dragging you closer, so that it questions your reason of being a human in the world.” – Blessing Ngobeni (Everard Read)

Blessing Ngobeni, It’s Us, 2022, 166 x 188 cm. Courtesy of Everard Read

“As an artist I have had many milestones but as someone from the African continent it is not always easy to have an international audience. Showing at 1-54 in 2017 changed that for me. For the first time in my life I saw the international reaction to my practice and I will forever be grateful for that experience. At 1-54 Paris 2022 my work will express my love of games, colour, texture and lust.” Lady Skollie (Everard Read)

“The history of African Art is more ancient than any other continent and begins with ochre paintings in the Blombos caves of South Africa 72,000 years ago. Five thousand years ago Egyptian faith and culture created some of the most sophisticated works of art, architecture and books ever created and it was the Egyptian pantheon that spawned the Greece gods and goddesses, eventually spreading through the Roman Empire and evolving into European culture. During the Colonial era it was African works of art that inspired the European avant garde artists like Picasso, Matisse, Malevich, Modigliani, Kirchner and Nolde. The strength and resilience of African Art remains that despite being present since the origin of the species, it still cannot be defined or reduced to anything singular. The booth with Didier Claes is part of an ongoing discussion we have been having for many years trying to understand the spirit of African Art. Looking at an African Mask, knowing that it was created to be danced and performed, we can say that the front of the mask with all it’s lines and colours and textures is an IMAGE made for the external world. This is the IMAGE of Africa that inspired “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” but it’s really the back of the mask that is the most important from an African perspective because the mask was made to be worn, to be danced and brought to life. This spiritual, emotional and psychological process shifts the work of art from it’s material and aesthetic form into an embodied incarnation that is a living form. This is the fourth collaboration with Didier Claes, including the IncarNations exhibition at Bozar Museum in Brussels, trying to bridge Contemporary Art with classic African Art by what is embodied rather than an image. The booth is a historical survey of works from the 1990’s until the present in dialogue with classic African art.”Kendell Geers (didier CLAES)

Kendell Geers, PreyPlayPrayPay, 2011, Polished bronze and handcuffs, 16 x 43 x 43 cm, Edition of 5 + 2AP. Courtesy of didier CLAES

List of Participating Galleries 

AFIKARIS (Paris, France) 

African Arty (Casablanca, Morocco) 

DADA Gallery (London, UK and Lagos, Nigeria) 

Everard Read (Johannesburg, South Africa; Cape Town, South Africa; Franschoek, South Africa and London, UK) 

didier CLAES (Brussels, Belgium) 

Françoise Livinec (Paris, France) 

Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana and London, UK) 

Galerie Carole Kvasnevski (Paris, France) 

Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Paris, France; Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Dakar, Senegal) 

Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium) 

HOA Galeria (Sao Paulo, Brazil and London, UK) 

Jack Bell Gallery (London, UK) 

Kó Art Space (Lagos, Nigeria) 

Katharina Maria Raab (Berlin, Germany) 

La Galerie 38 (Casablanca, Morocco) 

Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco) 

LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) 

MAGNIN-A (Paris, France) 

Nil Gallery (Paris, France) 

Primo Marella Gallery (Milan, Italy) 

Sabrina Amrani (Madrid, Spain) 

The Breeder (Athens, Greece) 

The Third Line (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) 

About 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair 

With annual editions in London, New York and Marrakech, 1-54 is the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Drawing reference to the 54 countries that constitute the African continent, 1-54 is a sustainable and dynamic platform that is engaged in contemporary dialogue and exchange. Initiated by Touria El Glaoui in 2013, April 2022 will mark 1-54’s return to Paris following the success of its pop-up edition last year and continue the fair’s 10th edition in London celebrations that will take place all year round. 

About Christie’s 

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai). 

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace. 

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change. 

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. 

The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here 

About Artsy 

Artsy is the leading global online marketplace for buying, selling, and discovering fine art. Artsy connects its 4,000+ international partners—including galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and institutions—spanning 100+ countries with its 1.9 million global art collectors and art lovers across 190+ countries. Artsy expands the entire art market by using best-in-class, mobile-first technology to effectively connect supply and demand at a global scale. Launched in 2012, Artsy is headquartered in New York City with offices in London, Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Los Angeles. 



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