The 1-54 Interview Series: Natalie Obadia

Nú Barreto, Djudanu (Help Us), 2019, Acrylic, ceramic pencil and collage on paper, 140 x 206 cm. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

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.

Mickalene Thomas, Sandra: She’s a Beauty, 2012, C-Print 163 x 132 cm (framed), Edition of 5 + 2 AP. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

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.

Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1952-1955, Posthumous gelatin black and white silver print on cartoline paper 280g back-mounted on Aluminium 1mm, Plexiglass framed, 122 x 162 cm 179 x 139 x 4,7 cm (framed), Edition of 5 +2 AP. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

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.

Youssef Nabil, Self-portrait with Botticelli, Florence 2009, 2009, Hand coloured gelatin silver print, 27 x 39 cm, 43,5 x 56,5 x 3,5 cm (framed), Edition of 10. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

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.

Andres Serrano, “Black Dolls – Sandy” Vintage Rag Doll (Infamous), 2019, Pigment print, back-mounted on dibond, wooden frame, 152,4 x 127 cm, 165,8 x 140,9 cm (framed), Edition of 3 + 2 AP. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels

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