Ingeniously named to represent the 54 African states, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair was inaugurated in 2013 and has been running both in London and New York every year ever since. This is my second time attending this leading international platform that has provided a huge opportunity for the contemporary African artists based both in the continent and the diaspora. In London, it is usually held at one of the landmarks of the city, Somerset House.
What makes my attendance this year more significant than the last one was witnessing the representation of Ethiopia, my birthplace, by the young and successful Addis Fine Art, an Addis Ababa based gallery that showcases a selection of contemporary artworks of the America- based and well established artist Wosene Worke Kosrof and those of young artists including Merikokeb Berhanu, Michael Tsegaye, Girma Berta and Leykun Nahusenay. Observing the keen interest of international art collectors and the engagement of the enthusiastic art lovers with individual artworks, made me sense the moral boost and the incentive such experience provides both to Addis Fine Art founders and the artists whose works were on display here and many more Ethiopian artists who are waiting for such an opportunity to knock on their door.
Moreover, I had a chance to visit the section where Addis Foto Fset was exhibiting artworks of Aida Muluneh, its director and a well-known photographer, and other artists. This biannual and week- long international photography festival will be held in Addis Ababa in December 2016.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing African art establishing itself on its rightful position as the origin of mankind and its diverse cultural heritage. As it has been hitherto acknowledged to be the case, it is of no surprise if blow my own horn and say,’ you ain’t seen nothing yet’ when it comes to the extent to which Ethiopian art stretches itself and assumes a central position in the field of the world wide contemporary art.