1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair announced a lineup of special projects for the 2017 edition of the New York fair (May 5 – 7, 2017). This year’s special projects program is the largest roster of non-for-profit programming for the New York fair since its inauguration in 2015, and will highlight an incredibly diverse mix of projects and partnerships that will complement the gallery presentations throughout the main fair.
Malick Sidibé: The Eye of Modern Mali
Thursday, May 4 – Sunday, May 7
Red Hook Labs
133-135 Imlay Street, Brooklyn, NY11231
Red Hook Labs presents, in collaboration with 1:54 and MAGNIN-A, Paris, a solo exhibition of the late Malian photographer in celebration of his iconic career beginning in 1950s Bamako, Mali. Sidibé is acclaimed for his black-and-white images chronicling the lives and culture of the Malian capital, in the wake of the country’s independence.
Sidibé opened the “Studio Malick” in the center of Bamako in Bagadadji, on 30th Street, Corner 19, in the midst of the exuberant 1950s. Known as the “eye of Bamako,” Sidibé’s on-the-spot coverage provided striking pictures, full of truth and energy. From these photos an insouciant spontaneity emerges — amidst the playful parties are youthful individuals, full of laughter and life. As his work gained an international reputation, Sidibé’s images quickly came to stand as markers of an African modernity within the landscape of photography and contemporary art. Within his dynamic shots of Bamako’s party scenes and sharply rendered studio portraits of Malian youth, Sidibé carved a space for alternative image making and narrative building. Sidibé was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2008) and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award by the Board of La Biennale di Venezia (2007), among others.
Nataal: New African Photography II
Thursday, May 4 – Sunday, May 14
Red Hook Labs
133-135 Imlay Street, Brooklyn, NY11231
Red Hook Labs and Nataal present New African Photography II, their second annual exhibition featuring emerging and established artists whose work engages with contemporary Africa. From a range of fresh perspectives come works that seek to address a diverse set of concerns relating to representation and identity.
Nataal is a new global media brand celebrating African visual arts, fashion, music, and society. Its exclusive editorials, visual essays, and short films profile the brightest designers, storytellers, tastemakers and cultural revolutionaries. Meanwhile its curated events, talks and exhibitions offer exploration and debate to intelligent audiences around the world. These physical and virtual spaces hail African innovation in all its guises.
Red Hook Labs is a public benefit corporation dedicated to establishing creative communities and self-sustaining businesses in developing areas. Through its unique relationship with creative industries and commitment to education, events and programming, it’s able to connect continuing skills training to mentorship, internships, and job placement. The combination of its four labs – studio, production, gallery, and school – make for a truly diverse and dynamic environment.
With the support of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)
Ousmane Mbaye’s trademark GRAPHIK collection are presented in the 1:54 Lounge exclusively for the 2017 New York edition. The collection lends a nobility to secondary materials, particularly iron, while colour occupies a pivotal role throughout. Championing simplicity and ‘sincerity’ of form on the continent and further afield, Ousmane Mbaye treats metal as a living material, one which can be plied, melded, and transformed to rewarding effect.
Ousmane Mbaye is a Senegalese designer based in Dakar. His collections have been presented in international art and design exhibitions and biennales at Grand Palais, Paris (2015); LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery, Abidjan (2015); Le 104, Paris (2014); and the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York (2010); as well as featured in Elle Décoration, IDEAT and Jeune Afrique, among others.
Ousmane Mbaye will be opening a design gallery in Dakar, Senegal, in June 2017.
Launch event: Saturday, May 6, 6 – 8pm in the 1:54 Lounge and Garden
Aperture magazine’s summer 2017 issue “Platform Africa” profiles the biennales, art spaces, and educational workshops that are changing the shape of photography across Africa today. Edited in collaboration with John Fleetwood, former head of the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, Bisi Silva, founder and director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, and Aïcha Diallo, associate editor of the website Contemporary And, the issue features portfolios by an emerging generation of photographers who have connected through such platforms as the Bamako Biennale (Rencontres de Bamako), Dak’Art, LagosPhoto, and Addis Foto Fest.
Coinciding with the launch of “Platform Africa,” Aperture presents an exhibition of limited edition prints by artists published in the issue in the 1:54 Lounge. From Abdo Shanan’s high-contrast portraits in Oran, Algeria, Nico Krijno’s blazingly colorful still lifes, and Fatoumata Diabate’s homage to the golden age of Malian studio portraiture, this presentation shows new and striking voices in contemporary African photography.
Aperture will also host a bookshop in the 1:54 Lounge, presenting a selection of Aperture publications and magazines specializing in contemporary African art.
Exhibiting on the second floor of Pioneer Works, Hassan Hajjaj presents an exhibition supported by Taymour Grahne Gallery, NY, comprising Kesh Angels and My Rockstars series. Turning to photography in the late 80s, Hajjaj is a master portraitist, taking studio portraits of friends, musicians, and artists, often wearing clothes designed by the artist.
Heavily influenced by the club, hip-hop, and reggae scenes of London as well as by his North African heritage, Hajjaj’s works feature recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, such as reversed Coca-Cola crates, stools and aluminum cans turned into lamps. These colorful and engaging portraits combine the visual vocabulary of contemporary fashion photography, pop art and the studio photography of Malick Sidibé, in an intelligent commentary on the influences of tradition in the interpretations of high and low branding and the effects of global capitalism. Born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco, Hajjaj lives and works in London, UK and Marrakech, Morocco.
Pioneer Works’ Visual Arts Residency 2017: Tahir Karmali, PAPER/work
Exhibiting on the third floor of Pioneer Works, Tahir Karmali’s PAPER/work is a project examining the consequences of nationality, authenticity, documentation, and borders for migrant populations in Africa. To the artist – as a Kenyan citizen who has traveled extensively – paper or ‘papers’ have always been the operative in legitimizing passage. In interrogating paper’s material significance – its manufacture, as well as the embedded fibres, imagery, and textual detail of ID documents from colonial and post-independence Kenya – Karmali holds up a mirror to the processes themselves. Papermaking, a process dealing in a filtration of sorts, is a tool to re-think notions of nationality, borders, and colonial histories.
Tahir Karmali was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Working across photography and digital mediums, Karmali’s interests lie in narrating outlier communities: groups who live away from mainstream society, but whose existences are indelibly shaped by economic, geopolitical, and social infrastructures. He draws from his own experiences, and those derived from outlier life to assemble narratives around migratory identity. Karmali will take up his residency at Pioneer Works in the Fall.
Pioneer Works’ Residency program supports the practices of emerging and established artists and creators from a variety of fields, including visual arts, music, writing, technology, education, and science. A uniquely collaborative environment encourages cross-disciplinary dialogue and inspiration.
These events are open to all, entry is free with 1:54 admission
Artist talk at Red Hook Labs with Kyle Weeks, William Ukoh, Girma Berta, and Wura Natasha-Ogunji, led by curators Helen Jennings and Sara Hemming, on the occasion of New African Photography II exhibition
No booking required, free entry
Launch of Aperture magazine’s summer 2017 issue: “Platform Africa”
Join Aperture editors and contributors for a presentation of their summer issue, followed by drinks in the garden
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Book presentation, Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, and conversation with Shantrelle Lewis and Larry Ossei-Mensah
5 – 6 pm
Book presentation and signing: Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty