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New York City was a thriving hub of artistic expression and innovation during its exhilarating Art and Design Week, as art enthusiasts flocked to experience the diverse offerings and thought-provoking exhibitions. From the prestigious Frieze Art Fair to the engaging 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair and the dynamic NYCxDesign Festival, the city celebrated the transformative power of creativity.
The Frieze Art Fair, held on May 20th and 21st at the Shed in Hudson Yards, showcased a curated selection of 69 galleries, about half its original size. Spanning three floors of the iconic Shed, the fair brought together artists and collectors from around the world to explore a rich array of contemporary art.
Further Uptown, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair made a triumphant return to New York. The 2023 edition took place in a modern venue located in the Manhattanville Factory District of West Harlem. The fair featured 26 galleries representing artists from across Africa, Europe, and the United States, offering a global perspective on African art and culture. With over 80 artists from Africa and its diaspora, the fair was a celebration of diversity and creativity.
One notable participant was Galerie Atiss Dakar, founded by Aissa Dione in 1996. The gallery has been instrumental in nurturing and promoting artists, introducing their talents to an international audience through prestigious platforms such as the Dak’Art contemporary art biennial and renowned fairs like Art Paris Art Fair, 1-54, AKAA, Art Dubai, and Art X Lagos.
Galerie Atiss Dakar showcased the works of five esteemed artists, each with a distinct voice and artistic vision. Congolese artist Ngimbi Bakambana Luve’s captivating pieces beckoned viewers to delve into his exploration of cultural identity and spirituality. With intricate details and vibrant colors, Luve’s art formed a visual tapestry of personal experiences, leaving spectators mesmerized by his storytelling prowess. His paintings are a form of pictorial sociology of the SAPE (Society of Ambience-Makers and Elegant People) culture centred in the two Congos and which is reminiscent of Dandy and Rudeboy cultures found elsewhere.
Another artist represented by Galerie Atiss Dakar, is Mallick Welli Cedric, a Senegalese artist who works in photography, fashion, and spirit. His work captures and represents the human condition, which for him, is a spiritual condition of duality, contradiction, and the path of self-questioning. The multi-disciplinary adept differentiates spirituality, something to be lived, from religion, something to be followed. Deeply researched, Welli’s scenes are carefully selected and composed with models, attire and color chosen for a context and feature landmarks of spiritual significance of a given community. Doubling and masking serve to signify spiritual presence; the prosaic form of the portrait projects an ethereal content.
The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair provides a dedicated space for African artists to shine, embodying diversity and creativity.
The week-long celebration of art and design concluded with the NYCxDesign Festival, an annual event that explores cutting-edge design trends and sustainable practices. From May 18th to 25th, the festival transformed New York City’s five boroughs into a playground of exhibitions, installations, trade fairs, and open studios. Architects, interior designers, and design enthusiasts convened to witness the future of design unfold before their eyes.
Ilene Shaw, Interim Executive Director, expressed the festival’s significance, highlighting its role in highlighting the strength of New York’s creative economy. The festival has helped establish New York as a premier design destination and continues to tap into the industry’s brightest minds to create inspiring activations throughout the city.
Frieze Art Week, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, and NYCxDesign illuminated New York City, fostering dialogue