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A Driving Force for African Art
Founding 1-54 was the bravest thing, she has done so far.
Fempire 31 Jul 2018

Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London

Born and raised in Morocco, Touria El Glaoui was listed amongst the 100 most powerful women in Africa by Forbes; amongst the 50 most powerful women in Africa by Jeune Afrique in 2015 and in 2018; and the 100 most influential Africans in business by NewAfrican in 2013.

Currently based in London, there she founded 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. What’s more: she has spoken widely and chaired numerous discussions on contemporary African art and women in leadership at international organizations. Here perhaps we may get inspired by her for becoming a powerful woman!
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© Javier Salas

In the art world currently, I find most exciting that…
Women artists and cultural practitioners are making waves and really asserting their presence like never before.

Number of unanswered mails in your account today…
I stopped looking, it is a daily struggle to get through them all, but I am a getting better at it.

Perfect working outfit…
I love kimono-inspired throw-overs at the moment and of course a good pair of trainers, something with a unique design.

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© Katrina Sorrentino

Your everyday online art read is…
Contemporary&, ArtReview, Art Africa, Art Newspaper and Artsy, just a few of the many that have wonderful content and are great to read on the go.

Most ridiculous thing you ever bought…
A nose warmer, London can get very cold, practical but not the most flattering accessory.

This song brings you in a good mood straight away…
A good mix by DJ AJ Kwame (Peter Adjaye) or DJ MeLo-X always puts me in an up-beat mood.

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Ola-Dele Kuku, Agenda Setting, 2013, Books, 150 x 300 cm. Courtesy 50 Golborne. Photography: Frederic Ah-Thon

Favourite art x brand collaboration…
There are artists like Hassan Hajjaj who use the aesthetics of branding, popular culture and textile in their work with a great deal of finesse. Definitely Athi-Patra Ruga and Yayoi Kusama’s collaborations with Louis Vuitton are ones to remember.

Your first post on Instagram…
Quite nostalgic, it’s a black and white photo of my sister and friend on a night out during the first edition of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair back in 2013.

Favourite hashtag…
#mykindofart

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Left: Moffat Takadiwa at Tyburn Gallery for 1-54 New York 2018 © Katrina Sorrentino
Right: Dan Halter, Kuwona Hutsi, 2017, Matchsticks and dirty US currency from Zimbabwe, 33 x 31 cm, Edition of 1 + 1 AP. Courtesy WHATIFTHEWORLD


Your art world muses…
I am inspired by progressive curators such as Koyo Kouoh (Director of Raw Material Company) and Thelma Golden (Director of Studio Museum in Harlem, NY). Team women!

Describe yourself with three emojis…
20180731_TouriaElGlaoui6_theartgorgeous

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Sanlé Sory (Burkinabe, b. 1943), Maliennes coquettes, 1969, Gelatin Silver Print © Sanlé Sory, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Art world gent I would love to have lunch with…
Oh wow, if we lived in a world where the impossible was possible I would want to have lunch with the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, just imagine the conversations we would have.

Artist(s) we should have on our watch list is/are…
I am excited about South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga and his upcoming exhibition which will be opening during the fair at Somerset House.  He’s a really dynamic practitioner.

Instagram: @154artfair / @telglaoui

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