Special Projects | London 2023

Amine El Gotaibi 'Illuminate the Light'

For Amine El Gotaibi, light is directly extracted from the African continent. Africa “is” light. His travelling project “Visit to Okavango” that he has been conducting since 2011, from his native Morocco to the borders of South Africa, aims precisely to “trace a luminous path in Africa”.

Specially commissioned for the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, the artist presented ‘Illuminate the Light’ in collaboration with MCC Gallery (Marrakech, Morocco). This monumental installation consisted of 12 corten geometric sculptures inspired by the seeds of a pomegranate that vary in shape, to represent the diversity of the African continent. At dusk, the sculptures transformed into luminous installations. Wielding light as a solid medium, El Gotaibi sees light as a metaphor to reverse the relationship between source and destination. Through light, the artist aims to  encourage viewers to question the hierarchy of substances and their perspective, reinforcing his core philosophy that ‘out of darkness, light emerges’.

Bibi Seck Lounge

Senegalese designer Bibi Seck presents his new collection of recycled plastic furniture, produced by Waste&Hope. This collection was designed and developed for le19M (based in Paris and Dakar at CHANEL’s initiative). While ingenuity is the hallmark of this furniture collection, its form is characterised by simplicity and functionality: Bibi Seck draws inspiration from street furniture like trolleys, seats and counters. Bringing together composite elements from which he retains a humble, raw aesthetic. The plastic components are made from Senegalese recycled plastic, while the wood components are made from French birch plywood with a matt dark oak varnish. 


Bibi Seck is the founder of Birsel+Seck, a design studio based in New York, and founder of Dakar Next, a design lab. Originally from Senegal, he works to develop best practices in design in West Africa, demonstrating the value of design as an economic resource  in developing countries. 


Waste&Hope, in Senegal and France, provides support for plastic recycling activities to create and share value from unused plastic sources, help limit the proliferation of plastics while helping to create jobs. Since 2021, Waste&Hope has been producing design furniture from unused plastic waste.

Photo réalisée dans nos ateliers à Vendôme (région Centre Val de Loire) Crédit : HD_6© EleaJeanne Schmitter for LE19M CHANEL.


artHARARE is the preeminent platform to experience contemporary art from Zimbabwe. Established in 2020, it is dedicated to promoting and supporting the development of contemporary art practice in Zimbabwe and its diaspora. 

artHARARE places itself in the landscape of institutions and platforms founded by artists with the desire to help grow the African art scene and make it accessible to wider audiences. They hold a strong belief in supporting the groundbreaking work produced by the next generation of artists from Zimbabwe, and providing a dynamic pathway through which their works can be presented and celebrated globally. 

artHarare’s presentation at 1-54 London included a selection of artworks by leading Zimbabwean emerging visual artists, Franklyn Dzingai, Wilfred Timire, Tafadzwa Tega, Option Dzikamai Nyahunzvi, Prudence Chimutuwah, Mostaff Muchawaya, Linnet Rubaya, whose works span various media including mixed media, prints, works on canvas and paintings. Represented in this special project was a generation of contemporary visual artists who speak most vocally and accurately about their nation,  its people, as well as their dreams, challenges, hopes and morals, through their artworks. 

Nubuke Foundation

Afroscope, Alice Raymond and Kwaku Opoku presented works born from their collaborations with women’s textile weaving collectives and Nubuke Foundation’s Centre for Textile and Clay in Wa, Ghana. The Foundation invited artists and creatives to create projects that positively impact the livelihoods of women textile weavers in Wa, Nandowli and Nandom.

The works presented reinterpreted centuries-old indigenous knowledge systems, using digital technology to connect woven strips to music, translate and re-present climatic information through colour and motifs, and innovate and engage with the visually impaired and deaf community in Wa.

Visitors to the Nubuke Foundation’s site in Wa are invited to examine how they traditionally perceive and engage with textiles and art. They can interact with hand-woven strip communities through a live digital platform, as well as appreciate the skill and craftsmanship employed by the blind to produce furniture.

Nubuke Foundation Centre Textiles and Clay runs an annual Festival, called Woori, and a residency programme.

The Evil Genius

‘The Evil Genius’ collection is a remarkable, first-of-its-kind fusion of contemporary African art and music. The Nigerian recording artist Mr Eazi commissioned 16 unique pieces, each corresponding to a track from his forthcoming album of the same name.

As he crossed the continent recording the album, from Ghana to Rwanda, Mr Eazi forged relationships with artists he encountered along the way. Noting a lack of alignment between Africa’s exploding music industry and the continent’s fine arts creators, he realized he could enhance the album’s story, as well as bring fresh attention to African art, by incorporating their work into the project.

The featured artists represent eight African nations, and each brings their own unique perspective, resulting in a diverse range of aesthetics and techniques. From bold and vibrant paintings to intricate drawings, the collection is a powerful statement of African creativity and ingenuity.

The collection showcases the many ways in which contemporary African art is flourishing today and offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of African culture — a must-see for anyone interested in the world of contemporary art.

Headphones will be provided on-site, enabling a fully immersive, audio-visual experience.

Spier Arts trust

Nando’s patronage of contemporary Southern African art, through close partnership with Spier Arts Trust, both enables career development opportunities for artists and the curation of Nando’s body of work.

By enabling artists to focus full-time on their artistic careers with the potential to earn a regular income, Nando’s is making a difference in people’s lives while growing their body of high quality Southern African contemporary art. Spier Arts Trust administers programmes that create career development opportunities for professional artists, thereby facilitating successful art careers. For this edition of 1-54 London 2023, Nando’s is presenting work by three Southern African artists: Colijn Strydom, Nkosinathi Quwe and Vivien Kohler.

عودة راشد Return Rashid!, 2023, XR/AR 3D installation

With renowned professor and archaeologist Monica Hana, LOOTY executed a daring “Digital Heist” at the British Museum, utilising cutting-edge LiDAR technology to record detailed scans of the Rosetta Stone (Hajar Rashid). These scans were then transported, both physically and digitally, to the town of Rashid, where the Rosetta Stone was originally taken, using Geo-located AR. One of the first digitally repatriated artworks was returned to its physical location.

Our reconstruction of the stela, of which the Rosetta Stone was once a part, serves as a reimagination of the past and augmentation of the future. Through art and tech, we aim to change the narrative of how we view art and who gets to experience it.

Beyond art restoration; it delves deep into the philosophical question of globalized art access. In an increasingly interconnected world, not everybody has the privilege to view their own cultural heritage. This disparity has long persisted, especially for those from countries where artworks were taken.

Theresah Ankomah
Yɛ yɛ dɔm, 2023

The 2023 edition of 1-54 London will see renowned artist Theresah Ankomah present a new woven installation titled Yɛ yɛ dɔm within the soaring rotunda of Somerset House’s Nelson Staircase. Theresah Ankomah pushes the boundaries of art by exploring the intricacies of weaving and craft in relation to issues of geopolitics, consumerism, gender, identity, and capitalism. Through performative installations, sculpture, weaving, photography, basketry painting, and printmaking, Ankomah delves into the profound meanings embedded within everyday objects. 

Ankomah’s artistic process involves assembling and disassembling woven objects, collaging and joining materials to create a disjointed yet cohesive body of work. Her practice goes beyond the confines of traditional aesthetics, challenging preconceived notions and examining the social and political dimensions of craft. By appropriating individual weaves from diverse encounters and narratives, she creates a rich tapestry of stories and experiences.

© Code Green
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair are partnering with Christie’s and Code Green for the selection of NFTs to be presented at the Trespassing auction taking place in July. The proceeds of the fundraiser auction will go to the Great Green Wall initiative – humanity’s most audacious climate initiative growing an 8000km natural wonder of the world across Africa.
Micha Serraf Hope Is a Dry Colour
Micha Serraf, Beneath the concrete runs a river,2021, Archival print on Hahnemühle Baryta paper, 40 x 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
1-54 is delighted to present work by Micha Serraf, the recipient of the Ritzau Art Prize 2021. This special project, organised by ISCP, is generously supported by Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy. In pursuit of identity and a place to call home, Zimbabwean artist Micha Serraf’s uncanny photographs and hand-sewn tapestries are motivated by drifting nostalgia for personal and ancestral experiences. The evocative presence of people of colour is foregrounded throughout the project, symbolised by the ancestral totemic monoliths in the tapestries and by the anonymous figures of the photographs. The African landscapes depicted here are now inaccessible military bases or restricted nature reserves owned and operated by families of colonial descent, although they are all places that would have been passed through freely by the artist’s ancestors. Most of the works were conceived while Serraf was in residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York in 2021. The residency is a collaboration between Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy, International Studio & Curatorial Program, and 1-54.