The recent death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests that have taken place across the US and around the world have yet again shone a light on the ongoing prevalence of racism in our society. At 1-54 we stand in full support of the Black community and anyone suffering oppression, discrimination, social injustice or racism.
We believe art can challenge these issues and that artists can be a source of inspiration and an important change factor. We have worked hard over the past eight years through our fairs and non-for-profit Special Projects programme to build a global platform for artists, curators, gallerists and art centers from Africa and its diaspora to reach new audiences and engage in contemporary dialogue and exchange over important issues including these. And we are proud over the years to have collaborated with hundreds more thinkers, activists, and researchers as part of our 1-54 Forum programme of talks, and to have provided important financial support to strengthen biennales and events held on the African continent.
But we realise we can and must do more. Racism and inequality in our society is a deep-rooted global problem and we need to do better and play our part in proactively and vocally addressing these issues. That is why we our sharing our commitment to the following actions:
• 1-54 has made a donation of $10,000 to four charities that are doing amazing work fighting social and racial injustice throughout the world. We have selected charities from four countries that are close to 1-54’s heart and have offered to split the donation equally between them:
– Resourcing Racial Injustice, in the UK
– Color of Change, in the USA
– GADEM, in Morocco
– Social Justice Coalition, in South Africa
• 1-54 is committed to offering 10% of all future tickets sales revenues to non-for-profit art organisations based on the African continent, such as biennales and local art centers, which will allow us to increase its yearly donation budget to these institutions. In the past, 1-54 has financially supported La Biennale de Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 2019, Les Rencontres de Bamako (Mali) in 2017-2018, Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial (Ghana) in 2017 and La Biennale de Marrakech (Morocco) in 2016.
• 1-54 is instituting a stronger policy regarding staff hiring at our fairs to ensure we are giving more opportunities to members of the Black community. As a sign of this commitment, we are exploring partnerships with two London based organisations, where our staff is hired and located.
• 1-54 is committed to providing a more regular platform to artists and curators who are addressing issues around social and racial injustice. We have begun by inviting Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba (Co-Founders of C& and curators of the next 1-54 Forum this October) to curate and moderate a talk that will tackle diversity issues in the art world, and how things can be improved. The online conversation will be held in June; further information and speakers will be announced soon.