1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London

Be Humble by Nelson Bakamo

Be Humble by Nelson Makamo

1:54, the international art fair dedicated to contemporary African art has returned to London in celebration to its fifth edition between 5-8 October 2017 at Sommerset House.With 42 leading galleries from 17 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America, the fair has presented diverse work from over 130 emerging and established artists. Here are some highlights of the art fair:

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Do cornrows come from Africa?


Recently, the article on Boxers Braids in French Magazine, “Paulette” , had made react some readers, outraged that we can say that cornrows were created by boxers, simply hiding their African history. And what a surprise to see that among the photographs chosen to illustrate the subject, the edition only chose white models. As if cornrows were only acceptable on Caucasians … That was not the purpose of Paulette, one suspects, but some have read it as a contempt for cornrows worn by black women.  Seeing cornrows in all the fashion magazines , usually worn most often by western models, means that this hairstyle has aesthetic value only on white women.

Récemment, l’article sur les Boxers Braids de Paulette Magazine, avaient fait bondir certaines lectrices, révoltées que l’on puisse dire que les tresses couchées avaient été conçues par les boxeuses, en taisant purement et simplement leur histoire africaine. Et quel étonnement de voir que parmi les photos choisies pour illustrer le sujet, la rédaction n’avait choisi que des modèles européens. Un peu comme si les tresses couchées n’étaient acceptables que sur les Caucasiennes… Là n’était pas le propos de Paulette, on s’en doute, mais certaines y ont lu un mépris pour les tresses portées par les noires. Et puis, voir ces tresses couchées dans tous les magazines de mode, portées le plus souvent le plus souvent sur des mannequins occidentaux, revient à dire que cette coiffure n’a de valeur esthétique que sur les femmes blanches.

However, braiding hair is an integral part of African culture. An art handed down from generation to generation and is a mode of transmission.

In brief, a history is necessary to demonstrate the ancestral character of cornrows in African culture.

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