In the Return of Art Fairs, Smaller Is Better

Farah Nayeri, The New York Times, October 20, 2020

[...] Wearing a yellow face mask designed in Ethiopia, the gallerist Rakeb Sile greeted a trickle of visitors to her booth one recent morning at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London. Addis Fine Art - the gallery of which she is a founder in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa - had on display a colorful cityscape, a portrait painted on fragments of used canvas and a gem-studded black cape worn in a recent performance-art piece outside Buckingham Palace.

 

"With the right precautions, we just have to keep things moving," said Ms. Sile, who is of Ethiopian descent, referring to the pandemic. She said the gallery owed it to its staff and artists, and to the 1-54 fair, which was founded in London in 2013 and is now also held in New York and Marrakesh, Morocco. "The narrative on Africa is always so flat, and very, very shallow," she said. "Somewhere like this, you can come in and really discover things that you just never thought you would discover." [...] 

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