Four thousand visitors from around the world arrived in Marrakech last weekend for the first 1:54 Art Fair to be held on the African continent, a historic "coming home" moment for the world's biggest African art fair.
Seventeen international galleries participated in the event, which reportedly had some of the art world's biggest names in attendance — from the director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, Glenn Lowry, and the Tate's Zoe Whitley, to directors and curators from The Smithsonian, Zeitz MOCAA and the Centre Pompidou.
Here are a few moments from 1:54 that had the art crowd talking:
- New, up-and-coming galleries
The fair opened itself up to the contribution of young African galleries, like Morocco's Loft Art Gallery, and LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery from Côte d'Ivoire.
- The Special Projects section of the fair
A special performance work by Elisabeth Efua Sutherland titled "Black Noise" explored "black as a lament, colour and meditation", which looked fantastic.
- The Mahjouba Initiative
A lot of interest was generated by The Mahjouba Initiative — an ongoing Morocco‑based project by artist Eric van Hove. The aim of the initiative is to design an electric moped for the local market using mainly Moroccan craft techniques and materials.
- The concurrent opening of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden
The long-awaited Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) opened on the same weekend with a launch exhibition called "Africa Is No Island" that showcased 40 emerging and established photographers working on the continent and in the wider diaspora.