“But I would never see any of this being shown and appreciated in Europe, the US, or further afield,” she says. “1-54 grew out of this need for a platform that presented and supported art and artists from Africa and its diaspora.
“Over the last six years we have built a strong international network, but also encouraged public involvement in all of the three cities we work in. For our inaugural edition in Marrakech last year we ensured events were run across the city with multiple institutions that have different audiences and spaces.”
El Glaoui says at her first edition in London in 2013 there were 17 galleries and about 80 artists in a single wing of Somerset House.
“We had about 6 000 visitors that year,” she says. “For this upcoming London edition we will have 43 galleries, 11 of which are exhibiting for the first time, hailing from 20 countries and more than 130 artists.
“The number of visitors we receive has grown too. For our London edition last year we had about 17,000 visitors. We expect a similar number for this upcoming London edition.”
El Glaoui adds: “In terms of sales that come out of each fair, it is always tricky to tell. In terms of numbers, perhaps the value of the works is the best indicator. Works valued at £1,000 to £5,000 bracket in our first edition are now valued at about the £20,000 bracket.”
Peterside says her attempt to feature fewer galleries for a bespoke experience has not deterred visitor numbers. “We had 5 000 people attend our first edition. That was a number we could cope with. At the second edition we had 9 000 people over three days. We hadn’t expected such a major jump and we weren’t ready for it,” she says.
“We have introduced a small entry fee, which is just more than a token fee, so that the fair continues to be accessible.”