Special Projects | New York 2023

Azikiwe Mohammed
Leroy's Luncheon

Leroy’s Luncheon is a project by Azikiwe Mohammed that deals with issues of familial histories, sharing memories, trading people’s stories and forwarding unseen histories. 

Leroy’s Luncheon visually presents as a diner / kitchen concept in which Azikiwe Mohammed performs as Leroy on a video-taped cooking show called Lunch With Leroy. The show focuses on the recipes that comprise the crowd-sourced cookbook Lunch With Leroy at Home vol. 1. The recipes swing between family secrets, favorite meals from friends, memories of people no longer with us, non-food based recipes, personal traditions and go to meals. 

On view in the show are paintings, t-shirts, neon, ceramic plates and tiles, a selection of which will be available at 1-54. A limited number of the cookbooks will also be on hand for sale at 1-54. In addition to the works on view at 1-54, Mohammed will be hosting a live taping of Lunch With Leroy during fair hours, open to all fair attendees on a first come first served basis. The attendees will comprise the “live studio audience” for the episode of Lunch With Leroy that is to be filmed at 1-54.

Over the run of 1-54 there will be two raffles of wooden food sculptures from Mohammed, the money from which benefits his food bank, the New Davonhaime Food Bank, as part of his free art school, the Black Painters Academy.

The first taping/performance followed by a raffle will take place on Thursday 18th at 3pm. The second performance followed by a raffle will take place on Sunday 21st at 3pm. 

Kenseth Armstead
True North: Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Presented by Pioneer Works

Presented by Pioneer Works, True North: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now celebrates the one hundred thousand Africans that escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. “True North: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” presents thirty-four sculptures, one for each state during the existence of the Underground Railroad. The waxed wood and steel works are marked by more than one hundred thousand hot-comb burns, one for each of the enslaved Africans self-liberated by the Underground Railroad.

True North: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now allows the viewer to engage the sculptures in a structured  choreography on the topic of freedom. Metaphorically and literally viewer will be finding marks and  imagining their way into the scale of hard-won freedom. The works explore the Black body being carried, concealed, stacked and finally, beautifully transformed, by more freedom. 

Kenseth Armstead’s work explores African achievement and the legacy of enslaved Africans and their descendants through conceptual art. Over three decades, the artist’s work has addressed unsung heroes in American culture and public dialogue. 

Rise Art
Nelson Makamo

In the last 20 years, Nelson Makamo’s (B. 1982, Limpopo) signature style and subject matter have steadily placed him on the global stage. Living and working in Johannesburg, he is known for his paintings and drawings that redress decades of images that have portrayed African children as destitute. 

This presentation of his work will re-introduce a New York audience to Makamo. At its centre will be a large-scale tapestry created by the artist in collaboration with a team of artisans, displayed here for the first time outside of South Africa. The work, which combines Makamo’s painterly style with the gridlike precision of weaving, features a child who towers above the viewer and looks out at them through round glasses with a mixture of melancholy and hope.

© 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.