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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 return to Paris for a second pop-up edition.

1-54 Paris 2021 © Nicolas Brasseur
1-54 Paris 2021 © Nicolas Brasseur

Set to take place over four days from 7-10 April 2022, 1-54 Paris at Christie’s will be held in the auction house’s galleries at Avenue Matignon. Featuring 23 international exhibitors from well-established galleries to younger art spaces, 1-54 will present more than 50 artists from Africa and the African diaspora.

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Map 27, 2021. Jute divers, raffia fibres, scrapers, aluminium, resin, kita cotton, plaster, and soil, 90 x 150cm. Courtesy of Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.
Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Map 27, 2021. Jute divers, raffia fibres, scrapers, aluminium, resin, kita cotton, plaster, and soil, 90 x 150cm. Courtesy of Galerie Cécile Fakhoury.

Artists like Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Anuar Khalifi, Deborah Segun, Nuits Balnéaires and Okiki Akinfe are just a few of the names present in this Paris edition.

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, represented by Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, defines herself as a storyteller of poems, experimenting with new forms and materials in her work. Like labyrinths, her works create new landscapes surrounding themes of femininity, identity, the body, and the matriline. The artist’s works, on the borderline between sculpture, tapestry, and installation, forge poetic narratives that explore the landmarks that have been bequeathed to us and how to better redraw a path of life that is our own.

Anuar Khalifi, who will be physically at the fair with his representing Dubai gallery, The Third Line, creates richly detailed and vibrant paintings that reward the keen eye with their captivating layers of meaning. Within these layers, the artist explores a wide range of themes such as identity, duality, diaspora, orientalism, colonialism, extremism, and consumerist society. Khalifis’ paintings demonstrate his understanding of both the stylistic elements and the socio-political spirit of Neo-Impressionism. Mixing fact and fiction to confront stereotypes about the Middle East, his works are at times ironic and humorous, evoking a childlike naivety as the artist dismantles the canon of orientalism.

The Nigerian artist, Deborah Segun, will also be physically at 1-54 Paris with her representing gallery from Greece, The Breeder. Firmly rooted in her personal experiences, Deborah Segun’s work celebrates the diverse bodies of women through explorations with shape, colour, and portraiture. Segun creates an important counterpoint to both art historical and contemporary depictions of the female form. She articulates the language of abstraction, and more specifically the visual vocabulary of Cubism, to narrate the stories of her subjects which are at once powerful and vulnerable. Her canvases are populated by the figures of voluptuous Black women in varied graceful poses, accompanied by titles like Longing and Trauma Bonding, that offer the viewer a window into the inner workings of her protagonists. Segun ultimately explores portraiture from a place of body sensitivity, shaping narratives around the power of vulnerability as a birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, and authenticity.

Deborah Segun, Restless Thoughts, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x170cm. Courtesy of The Breeder.
Deborah Segun, Restless Thoughts, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 170cm. Courtesy of The Breeder.

The photographer, Nuits Balnéaires, represented by the young and dynamic DADA Gallery with locations in London and Lagos, plays a pivotal role in the Côte d’Ivoire’s emerging contemporary art scene. Working with film and photography, Nuits Balnéaires documents places dear to him. Calm waters, sinuous landscapes, and ancestral cultures are perfectly portrayed in the Ivorian artist’s works as poetic traces of our existence. Through his work, Nuits Balnéaires reconnects with the cultural heritage of West Africa, creating new narratives for African youth.

In this Paris edition, the young London-based artist Okiki Akinfe is a name to watch. Akinfe’s work explores how human behaviour and the psyche are expressed through social interactions. She is particularly interested in alpha male and female archetypes and the anima/animus projection, which is Carl Jung’s theory about how the unconscious self is formed by the opposite sex. Her work further comments on ideas of creating space and detailing the history of diasporic living. She aims to go beyond ideals of merely existing as a Black British individual, by “fictioning” and building new worlds. The characters within these environmental landscapes reflect human behaviour and the psyche. They are both invisible and visible, ideally carving out a space for individuals to exist in non-social geographical spaces.

For more information, please visit 1-54.

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