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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 in-person return to New York after two years, set to take place over four days from 19-22 May 2022.

1-54 New York 2017 © Katrina Sorrentino
1-54 New York 2017 © Katrina Sorrentino

The return of 1-54 New York will see an international line-up of 25 galleries from across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, including galleries from New York, such as Cierra Britton Gallery, Fridman Gallery, Hannah Traore Gallery, Medium Tings, Long Gallery, Montague Contemporary, Superposition Gallery, among others.

1-54 New York will move to a new location at Harlem Parish, a grand yet intimate venue located in Central Harlem. The fair will be accompanied by a series of events throughout Harlem.

1-54 New York will be accompanied by 1-54 Forum, the fair’s acclaimed program of talks, performances, and screenings that explore the work and practice of artists from Africa and its diaspora. Novella Ford, Associate Director for Public Programs and Exhibitions at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has been selected as Curator.

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.

Artists like Dindga McCannon, taylor barnes, Everlyn Nicodemus and Renee Cox are just a few of the names shown in this New York edition.

Dindga McCannon, 125th St Revisited Yesterday and Today, 2020. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 73.7x 121.9cm. Courtesy of Fridman Gallery.

Dindga McCannon, who will be physically at the fair with their representing New York gallery, Fridman Gallery, studied with Harlem Renaissance artists, including Jacob Lawrence and Charles Alston, at the Art Students League of New York and the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. MacCannon was a member of the influential African American art collective Weusi and, together with Faith Ringgold, a co-founder of Where We At, the first women’s artist collective in Harlem.

McCannon’s paintings, mixed-media quilts, and prints expand upon the legacy of African and African American culture and historical memory. Her works often focus on stories of women — iconic public figures, family, and neighbours in Harlem.

taylor barnes, Flow, 2022. Charcoal medium on cloth, 50.8 x 50.8cm. Courtesy of Medium Tings.

Austin-born artist, taylor barnes, will also be present at 1-54 New York with their representing New York gallery, Medium Tings. taylor barnes is an emerging contemporary artist best known for fibre cloth works that feature charcoal portraits of Black women. Inspired by both memory and oral histories, barnes uses complex and labour-intensive techniques that involve building up layers of charcoal, free motion sewing, and other mixed mediums.

Representation and visibility are paramount to her practice, and Black women often take centre stage in her canvases as veiled commentary on contemporary politics around Black women, especially in relation to white spaces. Informed by critical writers such as bell hooks, Dionne Brand, and Octavia Butler, barnes’ silhouettes are feminine, mysterious, and gestural. They are often found in liberated states of motion, unanchored to a particular space, place, or time. Unbound from the stereotypical, these figures achieve greater agency and become arbitrators of their own subjectivity.

Renee Cox, Video Wave, 2021. Archival inkjet on 100% cotton rag, 111.76 x 111.76cm. Courtesy of Hannah Traore Gallery.

Renee Cox, at the fair with Hannah Traore Gallery, is one of the most controversial African American artists working today using her own body, both nude and clothed, to celebrate Black womanhood and criticise a society she often views as racist and sexist.

From the very beginning, her work showed a deep concern for social issues and employed disturbing religious imagery. Cox continues to push the envelope with her work by using different technologies that the digital medium of photography has to offer. By working from her archives and shooting new subjects, Cox seeks to push the limits of her older work and create new consciousnesses of the body. Her current work aims to ‘unleash the potential of the ordinary and bring it into a new realm of possibilities.’

Everlyn Nicodemus, St Hans, 1984. Paint on canvas, 68 x 56 cm. Courtesy of Richard Saltoun/Andrew Kreps.

Represented by Richard Saltoun Gallery, Everlyn Nicodemus, is one of the strongest feminist voices to emerge from Eastern Africa in the past 50 years. As an artist, she produces powerful works centred on personal and cultural trauma, as well as the role art can play in healing. Her research and curatorial interests focus on the history of modern African art.

Nicodemus’ life has been marked by movement which she documents in her writing and art making. Moving across Europe – to Sweden, France, and Belgium before finally settling in the U.K. – her experience of racism and cultural trauma has prompted the creation of a unique body of work encompassing paintings, collaged ‘books,’ and mixed media assemblages. She uses unusual materials to explore the human experience, from metal nettings and sisal to textiles and found objects.

The fair will be taking place from the 20th until the 22nd of May 2022. For more information, please visit 1-54.

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