Three African Galleries to watch at 1-54 London | Limna

Three African Galleries to watch at 1-54 London

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this week 1-54 Art Fair just opened in London. With the long overdue rise in appreciation and demand for African Art in the past few years, this fair presents an opportunity to see the most tantalisingly current presentations of art from the expansive continent, and its diaspora.

The 2021 London edition, saw both household names such as Zanele Muholi, Mounir Fatmi and Gonçalo Mabunda exhibiting work as well as emerging and early to mid-career artists such as John David Nkot who currently has +9% Momentum, Mous Lamrabat who now has +21% Momentum and Marc Padeu who has +24% Momentum. With such high figures, it shows the fair always offers exciting artists to be discovered.

There are stunning works to be discovered this week, but we’ve chosen three African galleries, including two young galleries, with presentations that particularly caught our attention, and that feature artists with positive momentum.

Nairobi, Kenya (Est. 2015)
Booth W10

Circle Art Gallery hosts exhibitions representing artists across East Africa. Their carefully curated programming, which includes fresh and thought-provoking contemporary projects, has resulted in a +32% increase in the Cultural Recognition of their represented artists over the last five years. One of their artists, Tahir Karmali (He/Him), born 1987 in Nairobi, Kenya and based in New York City has +6% Momentum and his works that “focus(es) on the transformation of objects and materials by global economic flows” left us in reflection.


Luanda, Angola & Lisbon, Portugal (Est. 2016)
Booth S15

With a focus on the “emerging aesthetics of cultural and artistic productions from the Global South”, THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE exhibits both emerging and established artists. Our database shows that the Cultural Recognition of the represented artists have reached a +41% over the last five years. To be presented at 1-54, the woven works of Patrick Bongoy (He/Him) who was born in 1980 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and is based in Cape Town, South Africa moved us. The artist, who currently has +2% Momentum, “explores themes of migration, displacement, and the enormous human cost involved in the struggle for natural resources.”


Cape town, South Africa, (Est. 2008)
Booth W07

The most established of our selected galleries, WHATIFTHEWORLD describes itself as having a “strong focus on Africa and the African diaspora, the gallery represents influential artists who engage with global and local contemporary art and socio-political contexts”. Their ambitious programming, which promotes curiosity and thought, led to a sharp increase of +58% in the Cultural Recognition of their exhibited artists over the last five years. To be seen at the fair are the works of Asemahle Ntlonti (She/Her) who was born in 1993 in Cape town, South Africa, and is still based there. Having only graduated from her art degree five years ago, she has experienced significant recognition in a short period and currently has +11% Momentum. Her mixed media canvases and works that weave in unthreaded polypropylene bags are stunning.

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