nº60 / 1:54 PARIS 2021 - CHRISTIE’S

A three-day discovery at Christie’s Paris during 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair 2021. A review, covering the most prominent artists and art galleries of the Art Fair through the eye of producer Cori Coppola.


Review by Zoltan Alexander

through the eye of

Cori Coppola

Featured galleries and artists

François-Xavier Gbré, Roméo Mivekannin and Ouattara Watts at Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan / Dakar / Paris), Nú Barreto at Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris / Bruxelles), Mounir Fatmi at Wilde Gallery (Basel), Romuald Hazoumè at Galerie Magnin-A (Paris), Leila Alaoui and Pascale Marthine Tayou at Galleria Continua (Paris / San Gimignano / Roma / Beijing / Havana), Andrew Tshabangus at Galerie Septième (Paris), René Tavaresat This Is Not A White Cube (Lisbon), Mous Lamrabat and M’hammed Kilito at Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca), Sara Imloul and Mouna Saboni at Galerie 127 (Marrakesh), Prince Gyasi at NIL Gallery (Paris), and Maïmouna Guerresi at Galerie Dominique Fiat (Paris).

1:54 Paris 2021 at Christie's / © video by Zoltan Alexander ZOLTAN+MEDIA

Being restricted from travelling due to Covid was an utter nuisance, and although it was a necessary act to slow the pandemic, it prevented me from attending the Paris edition of 1:54 in person. I have been covering the art fair for years and it would have been a great loss to miss out on the event, had my movie producer not been living in Paris.

2021, more than any other years, is dedicated to powerful and aspirational women:

Kamala Harris, Vice President, San Francisco / Amanda Gorman, poet, wordsmith, change-maker and beacon of hope, Los Angeles / Touria El Glaoui, founder. director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London-Marrakesh / Ilwad Elman, peace activist, Somalia / Zanele Muholi, photographer, activist, South Africa / Cori Coppola, movie producer, writer, Paris-Los Angeles.

C. Coppola and I come from a very different background, yet our minds work as if in tandem. She responded to my proposition with no hesitation when I asked her to be my 'eye' for the day at Christie’s. She accepted the challenge and joined me for a somewhat atypical tour at 1:54. We visited the event 500km apart, virtually for me, physically for her but perfectly synchronised together, effectively overcoming my perceived limitation thinking of the words of St. Agustine who once said: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page.”

"M-Eating, White Rubber Tire - First Lesson" of Maïmouna Guerresi / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie Dominique Fiat
"Surtenture" by Emo de Medeiros / Photo © Courtesy of Galerie Dominique Fiat


The renowned and worldwide celebrated 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair does not need any introduction. The Fair has been going on for over seven years in London, later in New York and Marrakesh.

In 2021, 1:54 made a radical change. Due to the worldwide pandemic and travel restrictions, the Marrakesh edition in February was postponed and founder Touria El Glaoui brought 1:54 to Paris for the first time.

The partnership between 1:54 and Christie’s dates back to October 2020, to the success of their collaboration, for which Christie’s London displayed many of the artworks at their King Street location in St James’s and on their online platform.