1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London


For the third consecutive year Lawrie Shabibi­­­ returns to the London edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair featuring a presentation of four artists: Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978, Tunis), Fathi Hassan (b. 1957, Cairo), Zak Ové (b. 1966, London) and Hew Locke (b. 1959, Edinburgh).


Artists Exhibited


Exhibited by the gallery at 1-54 for the first time, Hew Locke presents a work from his Golden Horde series commissioned for the exhibition Alien Nation at the ICA in 2006. As he puts it “this work speaks of the fear of the invader way before Brexit!” Drawing on years of visiting cathedral, palace and museum treasuries or hordes such as the Gilt and Silver Rooms at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Locke explores the visual display of those in power and those who aspire to attain power, focusing his fascination and ambivalence around ideas and images of “Britishness” in a global context. Locke's work is represented in many collections including the Government Art Collection, Tate Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, Perez Art Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum Drawing Collection, the British Museum and the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK.


Fathi Hassan, a Nubian-Egyptian artist now living and working in Edinburgh, experiments with the written and spoken word exploring the importance of oral traditions and ancient languages threatened by colonialism. At 1-54 Hassan presents a series of collaged works that engage with the symbols, textures and calligraphy of invented, Kufic-inspired scripts, exploring the space between graphic symbolism and literal meaning. Hassan’s works are in the collections of the British Museum (his photographs and paintings are currently on display in the the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World), the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.


Berlin-based Tunisian/Ukrainian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke presents Spic and Span in June and July, 2019, part of an ongoing process of creating a variation of graphite and acrylic drawings on paper on canvas, each of which is linked to a month in the year. In these works Kaabi-Linke reflects upon her own practice of print making, musing whether a real time painting or drawing is even possible. In the end, each drawing relates to both time and space through the activity of filling time until the surface satisfies the conditions that end this process - when the work is complete is the only decision the artist can make. Kaabi-Linke’s works are in the collections of major institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim, MoMA New York, Dallas Museum of Art, M+ Museum and Sharjah Art Foundation and she is currently part of two museum group shows: “Clapping with Stones: Art and Acts of Resistance” at the Rubin Museum, New York and “Walking Through Walls” at Gropius Bau, Berlin. 


Zak Ové returns to Somerset House after a short break - over the summer he curated Get Up, Stand Up Now at Somerset House, a ground-breaking exhibition of over 100 artists celebrating the contribution of black creatives in Britain over the past 50 years. For 1-54 Ové presents a series of Doily Paintings and Hands Up, a new sculpture. Ové is currently showing Autonomous Morris at Frieze Sculpture in Regent’s Park, and his monumental sculptural installation Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness, first shown in the central courtyard of Somerset House during the 2016 edition of 1-54, is currently on view at the B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden in LACMA, Los Angeles. His works are in the collections of the British Museum, Pérez Art Museum, Facebook Corporate Collection, Pizzuti Collection and 21C Museum Hotels amongst others.