In 2015, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair was a pop-up event in Brooklyn. That was a test, to see if there was a market for the full show, which has been a London event for the past three years. Their 2015 success in New York paved the way for this year’s show, which will take place at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn this may, filling 17 galleries.
1:54, which only accepts art by invitation, is named for the fifty -our countries that make up the African continent. The show’s five dozen artists come from twenty-five of those nations, an impressive result of their efforts to be as representative as possible.
Touria El Glaoui is the director of the air fair in Brooklyn. They see a void in New York, a lack of representation of contemporary African artists, and are trying to fill it. The show also includes a lecture series and panel discussions, curated by Koyo Kouoh, to further education.
Pioneer Works, along with hosting 1:54, has offered one of its competitive residency slots to an artist from the show, Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop. Diop was a 2015 nominee for the Discovery award for photography for his opus Project Diaspora, a series of beautifully staged and costumed portraits of himself as figures throughout history.
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be on view from May 6-8 2016, at Pioneer Works. The address is 149 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn. A full list of participating artists and galleries can be found at Artnet.