Highlights of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Touria El Glaoui

Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

04 Oct 2017

Summer Surprise

The annual installation for The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court is a new work specifically produced by Pascale Marthine Tayou for the iconic courtyard space. The installation references togunas, which are public structures native to Mali. Typically located at the centre of the village, togunas form the heart of community life; their main purpose being to provide a place for discussing social and constitutional issues, a meeting point for debate and intellectual exchange. By positioning this work at the centre point of the fair, Tayou hopes to engage visitors and initiate a similarly discursive environment surrounding modern forms of violence.

Pascale Marthine Tayou, Summer Surprise, 2017 digital render. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua

Ebube Dike by Emeka Ogboh

Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh has conceived a multi-channel sound installation for the Stamp Stairs at the fair, his first ever site-specific commission. Ogboh is recognised for his immersive, multi-layered soundscapes of urban life. Ebube Dike (meaning ‘glorious warrior’ in Igbo) is a sonic ode to African renaissance;  fusing the serenading sounds of the Òja (a type of flute originating from the Igbo tribe in Nigeria) with fragments of famous speeches by African political leaders.

Emeka Ogboh, The Song of the Germans, 2015
Emeka Ogboh, The Song of the Germans, 2015

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane

Following the success of Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali in 2016, we are thrilled to be presenting an exhibition of British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj in partnership with Somerset House. This is the artist’s first UK solo show in seven years and represents a homecoming of sorts. His playful and multi-layered work fuses traditional and contemporary North African culture alongside Western imagery and iconography.

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane Exhibition Trailer


In addition to the exhibitiors at the fair, every year we bring together artistic and cultural practitioners for FORUM, the fair’s extensive educational talks programme. This year FORUM will convene around the title The Conversationists, which will question the role that educational programmes play in producing and sustaining an economy of knowledge. There will be a chance to hear from artists about their practice as well as contributions from key individuals from the world of contemporary art, including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries; the Head of Education for documenta 14, Sepake Angiama; and Adenrele Sonariwo, lead curator of the Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017.


This year marks the fifth anniversary of the London edition of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, and to mark the occasion we are presenting two live performances as part of the fair’s Special Projects. Hana Tefrati’s performance Desire Path will play out in the corridors of the West Wing on Friday afternoon, drawing attention to marginal spaces that queer communities occupy in Morocco. On Saturday Adejoke Tugbiyele presents Shifting the Waves, a new performance piece which will commence at The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair runs from 5 - 8 Oct 2017.

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane runs from 5 Oct 2017 - 7 Jan 2018 and is part of The Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series.