1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair coming to Pioneer Works

Africa’s top contemporary art coming to Red Hook

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

Cubism: “Bintou #2, Or series” by French artist Vincent Michéa is a collage made of stock cube packets.
Vice media: “L’employeur et l’employé” by Congolese painter Chéri Samba.
The eyes have it: “Urban Style” by Boris Nzebo, a painter from Cameroon.
The king’s court: “La Cour du Roi” by Benin artist Gérard Quenum.
Youth group: “Groupe de jeune n1” by Armand Boua, who paints street kids in his hometown of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The title says it all: “Self portrait after being stoned, caped, masked and fed exotic fruit” by Bahamian artist Lavar Munroe.
Blanket statement: “I didn’t join the struggle to be poor” by South African artist Lawrence Lemaoana.
The material point: A silk tapestry by Malawi-bon, South Africa-based artist Billie Zangewa.

Give Frieze the freeze!

Manhattan’s fancy contemporary art fair Frieze is this weekend, but you can save the ferry fare, because Brooklyn is having its own fancy contemporary art fair. The organizers of England’s 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, a two-year-old festival featuring top artists from Africa and the African diaspora, are bringing their exhibition to Pioneer Works in Red Hook from May 15–17, and one participating Brooklyn artist said the timing and location couldn’t be better.

“There’s a buzzing conversation around contemporary art by artists of African descent … like, everyone is watching with intrigue,” said artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, who hails from Nigeria and lives in Bedford–Stuyvesant. “Brooklyn is an ideal place for 1:54’s debut to a New York audience — not just as a city with one of the largest populations of people of African descent, but also as a cultural and creative hub that is constantly expanding its global reach.”

1:54 — named for the 54 countries that make up the African continent — will feature works from more than 60 artists, including paintings, drawings, mixed-media works, sculpture, photography and video — plus a program of panels, lectures, and question and answer sessions. The relatively small size of the fair should make for an intimate, social experience, said the festival’s founder

“It’s about new conversations, as well as the conversations that continue and unfold over time,” said 1:54 founder Touria El Glaoui. “I think that it will be a lot of fun, and hope that it will prove insightful, as well as contain a few surprises — as any good experience should.”

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Pioneer Works [159 Pioneer St. between Van Brunt and Conover streets in Red Hook, (718) 596–3001,]. May 15–16 noon–8 pm, May 17 noon–6 pm. $10 ($5 students).

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