Following our interview with artist Lakin Ogunbanwo (whose interview can be found here), we’re speaking to French gallery owner, Natalie Obadia, of her namesake gallery about the fair and why Marrakech is becoming North Africa’s newest art hub.
Since 1993, Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels has exhibited artists such as Rina Banerjee, Lorna Simpson and Jessica Stockholder. More recently Laure Prouvost, Andres Serrano, Mickalene Thomas, Benoît Maire and Edi Hila have also joined the gallery. Involved in the breakthrough of emblematical artists such as Wang Keping, Martin Barré, Josep Grau-Garriga, Shirley Jaffe, Sarkis and Agnès Varda internationally, the gallery accompanies its artists into numerous institutional exhibitions in France and abroad.
For the second consecutive year Galerie Nathalie Obadia returns to Marrakech. What makes you come back?
This is my second participation in 1-54 Marrakech. Last year we met collectors from all over the African continent, as well as America and France – among them very interesting institutional managers. 1-54 has succeeded in establishing itself with a strong identity on African and African-American art. After London and New York, it was important that they found a place in Morocco, especially in Marrakech, which has become an important center where the different actors are now interested to come.
What makes the Marrakech art market different from the art markets across Europe?
Marrakech is an essential crossroads for African continent, Europe and America. The size of the fair and the limited number of exhibitors thus make it possible to establish privileged relationships with visitors who come with the intention of better understanding contemporary African art and its different diasporas. In addition to major global fairs like Art Basel, Frieze and FIAC, 1-54 has found its place because it offers a specific gaze at an essential geographic and cultural area of modern and contemporary art. It has become an unmissable event in London, New York and Marrakech.
What do you think about the Marrakech art scene?
The artistic scene of Marrakech is more and more structured between the presence of very interesting galleries, the opening of museums such as the MACAAL and musée YVES SAINT LAURENT marrakech and the growing number of Moroccan and foreign collectors installed in the city. Thus, the annual meeting of 1-54 consolidates the interest of coming to Marrakech.