1-54 Is Known As a Platform for Discovery. Here Are 6 Standout Artists at the Fair Whose Work Can Be Bought for Less Than $10,000
The contemporary African art fair just wrapped its second edition in Paris.
The second Parisian edition of 1-54, the leading fair for African contemporary art, brought together 23 galleries at Christie’s on Avenue Matignon from April 7 through 10.
Since its inception in London in 2013, the fair founded by Touria El Glaoui has served as a platform for discovering works by artists such as Zanele Muholi and Amoako Boafo. After launching editions in New York and Marrakech, 1-54 held its first Parisian edition at Christie’s last year.
We trawled the fair to pinpoint six emerging artists whose works can be snapped up for under $10,000.
Mónica de Miranda
Who? Born in Porto in 1976 to Angolan parents, Mónica de Miranda reflects upon personal geographies, migration and the Black body in her research-based practice. She is one of the founders of the artists’ residency project Triangle Network in Portugal and the founder of Hangar—a centre of artistic research in Lisbon. Her black-and-white photographs, “Greenhouse flowers,” depict the greenhouses that many African migrants end up working in after crossing the border to the south of Spain. Miranda has embroidered plants, her stitches alluding to the healing of wounds, over the images that evoke the shattering of the “European dream.”
Based in: Lisbon
Showing at: Sabrina Amrani (Madrid)
Why you should pay attention: Sabrina Amrani sold eight of Miranda’s works at 1-54. Miranda has exhibited widely, including at Paris Photo, Arco Madrid, Rencontres de Bamako and the Biennale de Dakar. Her works are in the collections of Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, and Arquivo Municipal de Lisboa.
Notable resume line: After studying at London’s Camberwell College of Arts, Miranda earned at a PhD in Visual Art from the University of Middlesex. In 2016, she was nominated for the Novo Banco Photo prize, whose three selected artists were exhibited at Lisbon’s Museu Coleção Berardo.
Up next: Miranda’s show, “Shadows Fall Behind,” is at Sabrina Amrani until June 4, 2022. She will have a solo show, “no longer with the memory but with its future,” curated by Paula Nascimento, at Oratorio di San Ludovico during the Venice Biennale, April 23 – May 29, 2022.
Who? Muralist and self-taught artist Ghizlane Agzenaï, 33, was born in Tangier. She developed her geometric and chromatic language while living in Berlin from 2016–2017. While loosely recalling Moroccan modernism and the post-colonial School of Casablanca art movement, Agzenaï’s creative process is unique. She begins by making drawings that she elaborates on the computer. Jigsaw-like pieces of wood are laser-cut into precise shapes that Agzenaï paints individually before assembling them. Agzenaï calls her vibrating works “totems” as they are intended to “transmit the positive energy and goodwill” with which totems are associated.
Based in: Casablanca
Showing at: La Galerie 38 (Casablanca)
Why you should pay attention: La Galerie 38 sold three of her works at 1-54’s preview. Her works are in the collections of Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Rabat, Morocco, and Fondation Crédit Agricole.
Notable resume line: Agzenaï participated in a festival at the Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Rabat in 2018. Her pulsing, brightly colored murals have adorned the facades of buildings in cities such as Vienna, Barcelona and Paris, and her work has been exhibited in Berlin and Casablanca.
Up next: Agzenaï will have a solo show at La Galerie 38 in Casablanca in December.
Who? Born in 1979 in Angola, Silva has expressed her artistic sensibility since childhood. As a young girl, she would cut shoes to create installations on the walls of her family’s house on the coffee plantation where her father worked. Marked by her early experiences, her textile works populated with figures of women and children reflect upon the difficult access to water in Angola as well as the memory of her grandmother and other family members. Silva buys raffia bags at Luanda’s markets that serve as the basis for her works incorporating embroidery, lace, drawing and painting.
Based in: Lisbon
Showing at: Magnin-A (Paris)
Why you should pay attention: Magnin-A rehung its stand on the afternoon of the preview after selling six of Silva’s works. Silva had her first solo exhibition at Magnin-A last fall, where 13 works sold, and the gallery presented her work at the last edition of Fiac.
Notable resume line: Silva studied at Ar.Co, an art school dedicated to arts, crafts and visual communication in Lisbon.
Up next: Silva will have a solo show at Portugal’s Casa da Cerca–Centro de Arte Contemporânea in Almada, south of Lisbon, April 30– September 11, 2022. She is also participating in the Biennale de Dakar, “Forger/Out of the Fire,” May 19–June 21, 2022.
Who? Ghanaian photographer Prince Gyasi, 26, makes electrifying, color-saturated portraits imbued with boldness, pride, humor and optimism. What ignited his interest in photography was his mother dropping him off at a small photographer’s studio in Accra while she went shopping. After taking pictures of his high-school friends and surroundings with an iPhone, he began changing the colors, creating his own palette, in order to bring a personal and emotional dimension through his approach of “color therapy.” Following the success of his iPhone-derived images, he has been taking staged portraits, again of striking silhouettes, with a Fuji camera.
Based in: Accra
Showing at: Nil Gallery (Paris)
Why you should pay attention: Prince Gyasi’s work has been exhibited at Pulse Miami, AKAA in Paris and Investec Cape Town Art Fair. In December 2018, he collaborated with Apple on a project titled A Great Day in Accra for which he brought together numerous Ghanaian musicians. The project was inspired by Art Kane’s black-and-white photograph A Great Day in Harlem of New York jazz musicians. His work is the Jean Pigozzi Collection of African Art.
Notable resume line: Prince Gyasi is the co-founder of BoxedKids, a foundation that helps fund the education of underprivileged children in Accra and encourages their creativity.
Up next: His exhibition, “The Truth of Color,” is at Asphodel in Kyoto during Kytotographie international photography festival until May 8, 2022.
Who? Born in London in 1983 to Jamaican parents, Moore explores her own term, “wildness,” in contemporary painting that draws on her Jamaican heritage. She also makes soft textile works using fabric, unraveled threads from old sweaters, new yarns and crochet on which she collaborates with her mother. On view at 1-54, Faced by Autumn’s October Tree (2021) depicts a tree framed by curtains, a Black profiled face and dark green cloud. Moore describes the piece, which intertwines the idea of the English garden with her memory of visiting Strawberry Hill’s Rainforest Garden in Jamaica, as a “mind map” centered on humanity’s relationship to nature.
Based in: London
Showing at: Dada Gallery (London)
Why you should pay attention: The Saatchi Gallery has exhibited six of Moore’s works, including an installation, paintings and a printmaking piece. Moore participated in the group show, “An Infinity of Traces,” curated by Ekow Eshun at London’s Lisson Gallery last year and in White Cube’s online show, “Tomorrow: London,” featuring recent graduates.
Notable resume line: Moore attained a Masters in Painting from London’s Royal College of Art in 2020 and was awarded the Valerie Beston Artist’s Trust Bursary, which is given annually to one RCA student.
Up next: Moore has a dual exhibition with Hamed Maiye at Dada Gallery until April 17, 2022.
Who? Born in 1982, Justin Ebanda weaves ideas about memory, African identity, archival imagery, textiles, and history into his vibrant paintings. The starting point of his paintings on view at 1-54 was colonial photography, which Ebanda reinterpreted by changing the attire of the figures and adding in accessories such as headphones. By not attributing specific facial features to his figures, Ebanda gives a sense of anonymity and collective identity. In each portrait, the character is holding a book—raising the question of how knowledge is transmitted by the spoken or written word. Meanwhile, Ebanda pays tribute to African textiles and tribal symbols in the rich backgrounds.
Based in: Douala and Paris
Showing at: Galerie Carole Kvasnevski (Paris)
Why you should pay attention: Ebanda’s work has been presented at Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Art X Lagos, and AKAA in Paris. His works have been acquired by private collections.
Notable resume line: Ebanda graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy and the Institut des Beaux-Arts de l’Université de Douala.
Up next: Ebanda is participating in a group show at Galerie Carole Kvasnevski until June 4, 2022.
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