54 Countries, One Continent

Our Picks From 1-54 London 2018

October 12, 2018 By: Adenike Cosgrove

Remember at the start of the year, when we said that contemporary African art is the darling of the industry and that collectors are expanding their collections? Well, if this year’s 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is anything to go by then we were right!

The fair closed its sixth consecutive London edition on Sunday 7 October at Somerset House and welcomed 18,000 visitors, 43 international galleries (almost double the number from the 2013 preview of the fair), and presented works from more than 130 artists of African descent.

What drew so many visitors to 1-54, many more than at classic African art fairs? Is it the perceived affordability of contemporary works when compared with historical pieces? Is it the idea that the money spent goes to living African artists? Are collectors ‘investing’ early in the hope of cashing out when artists become established, or are contemporary fairs simply better at marketing?

Whatever the answer, there was much talk about the buying frenzy that took place at the fair with many booths selling out on opening night. Here are some of the stand out works from this year’s edition.



Missed the London edition this year? Fret not for 1-54 is putting on three shows in 2019:

  • Marrakech at La Mamounia, 23 – 24 February 2019
  • New York at Industria, 3 – 5 May 2019
  • London at Somerset House, October 2019

Stay up to date on all upcoming fairs, auctions and exhibitions by checking out our event listing page.

All photographs © Katrina Sorrentino, Courtesy 1-54 Fair.


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