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1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair - my virtually there but not top 10

I had planned on being in London for the big art fair cluster-fuck, but LIFE. Thanks to Artsy I can peruse the offerings at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair without being there. Typically I tell off young journalists and commentators for forming any opinion about an artwork you haven't seen in person but in this digital-image-driven age it seems a little futile to wait for face-to-face encounters.

In no particular order;

Joël Andrianomearisoa, Sentimental negotiations Act VIII, 2016, Sabrina Amrani. Ever since this artist created a fashion-type-live-performance thing in Maboneng, Joburg I have followed his work closely. I just love what he does, this minimalist, crafty type aesthetic referring to abstract emotions.

Yashua Klos, Shape Your Shadow, 2015, Galerie Anne de Villepoix. This work probably looks a lot more sophisticated than it is, but that is sort of why I like it. The deconstructed wooden mask-cum-portrait-bust. Klos apparently showed a work at the Goodman Gallery as part of that all-over-the-show exhibition Young, Gifted and Black.

Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo, Untitled, 2015, Primo Marella Gallery. I guess this is very African; the body configured via collage.

Ernest Mancoba, untitled (V.6), 1993, Galerie Mikael Andersen. Clearly my nationalist roots run deep. Jazz-meets-abstraction. I blame Kemang wa Lehulere, who reinvigorated my interest in Mancoba after his exhibition as Standard Bank Young Artist.

Cheikh Ndiaye, Import-Export #3, 2016, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury – Abidjan. Another popular African motif has to be this migration-exile-transport-of-goods theme. I like that this is quite abstract - I have no idea what sort of object(s) it conceals.

Barka, Orange Is the New Black, 2016, Galerie Mikael Andersen. The title of this artwork does it. Race politics, police brutality, black-lives-matter and pop culture are all rolled into one seemingly innocent looking portrait.

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Dress Up, 2014, Jenkins Johnson Gallery. This series brings to mind the recent exhibition in Cape Town by Larita Engelbrecht at Ebony gallery. It also brings to mind Candice Breitz's Rainbow series - except it is in reverse or is it, white-body parts placed on ethnographic photographs.

Lebohang Kganye, ke bapala seyalemoya bosiu ka naeterese I, 2012, Afronova. I quite enjoy this retro-restaging of what feels like a '50s homestyle Bona-magazine scene.

Abdoulaye Konaté, Composition en jaune et marron, 2016, Primo Marella Gallery. An art fair is not an African art fair without a work made from textiles. I have feeling that confronted with a large one of these works would be quite compelling.


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