May, 13 2015

For aficionado of African art residing in New York city, there’s no need to go to Africa to see or buy the best African contemporary art.

This weekend you can now just hop on a train to Brooklyn where after decades of playing second fiddle to their counterparts across the atlantic ocean in America and Europe, African artists and their artworks are finally getting their due diligence, in form of an art fair, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, at one of the city’s up and coming hip neighborhood in Red Hook.

The show is meant to strike a balance between the variety of artistic voices including from established artists who have paved the way for future artist generations and current rising artists. Artworks, including paintings, photographs and installations from Angolan artist Maliam Abdoulaye Donate, Ghanian artist Ibrahim Mahama and Tunisian artist Nidhal Chamekh, just to name a few, will be available to visitors.

The event, which is making its New York’s inaugural at the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation on May 15 through 17th was conceived by 1:54, a London-based company founded by director Touria El Glaoui, dedicated to promoting African and African related art practices and projects around the globe.

Mr. El Glaoui, who named the company as a reference to the 54 countries that make up Africa, is hoping the New York show will turn into a cult following for African arts.

The company, which has already held successful shows in London, where artists like Yinka Shonibare MBE participated, couldn’t had picked a better week to debut its show in NYC.

Just this week, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, two mega auction powerhouses raised combined over $1 billion [Christie’s raised $709.9 million from an auction while Sotheby’s auction of American oriented contemporary pieces raised $379.7 million ] through their auction shows, which could be a hard act to follow.

However, we keep our fingers crossed and hope this show will not only be successful but will introduce New Yorkers, and Americans at large, to an aspect of Africa that they don’t get to see or experience often.

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