By Japhet Alakam
It will be a vibrant exhibition of colour, emotion and passion, as London gets set to host the first international, contemporary African art fair tagged Contemporary Realities: Shifting Identities this month.
The exhibition which is organised by African media house IC Publications in partnership with the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is the first international contemporary African art fair and is scheduled to hold at Somerset House in the city from 14th – 20th October.
Founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of celebrated Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui, 1:54 will be the first international art fair dedicated exclusively to contemporary African art and will run concurrently with the world-renowned London Frieze Art Fair.
The fair will be held in the historic settings of Somerset House in central London and will be designed by award-winning Ghanaian/British architect, David Adjaye – the man responsible for the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the forthcoming $500m National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C
As part of its determined efforts of taking African arts and artists to international limelight, Omenka Gallery will participate in exhibition. 1:54 is an independent fair designed by architect David Adjaye as a platform for galleries, artists, curators, art centers and museums involved in African and Africa related projects and aims to promote art by established and emerging talents amongst an international audience.
The exhibition will showcase works by leading three contemporary African artists, Okhai Ojeikere, Uche James-Iroha and Dominique Zinkpe. Their works will be displayed at booth 10B Somerset House, West Wing Strand, London.
Pa Ojeikere is a Nigerian photographer who is known for his work with unique hairstyles found in Nigeria. The widely acclaimed photographer has participated in many solo and group exhibition where he exhibited a thousand pictures of different African women hairstyles.
Uche James Iroha is an award winning young photographer who has carved a niche for himself. Regarded at the beginning of the 21st century as someone that has broadened the horizon of Nigerian photography through his support to young photographers and the passing of his knowledge to them.
Dominique Zinkpè from Cotonou in the Republic of Benin is unarguably one of the most recognizable contemporary artists to emerge from his country. His strongly personal style and versatility as a painter and sculptor have secured him increasing international recognition. He has participated in numerous exhibitions workshops and residences in Africa, Europe and South America.
Founder of 1:54, Touria El Glaoui, said: “ We are very excited to have IC publication as our media partner for 1:54, the first fair dedicated to Contemporary African Art. The fair aims to promote on an international level established and emerging talents from Africa and the African Diaspora.”
Omar Ben Yedder, Managing Director of IC Publications said: “African art is finally getting the attention its artists and art deserves and 1:54 will be a showcase for a lot of what is good in African art today. We are truly excited about 1:54 I am delighted as this is something that is very close to me personally.
Touria has put together an impressive and highly talented team to lead this initiative. I think that all lovers of art have something very exciting to look forward to later this year and African art, thanks to 1:54, will have its deserved place on the international stage.”