“Marrakech was a vibrant art city without an art fair,” explained El Glaoui. 1-54’s arrival, said El Glaoui, is not meant to compete with other African-based fairs—like ART X Lagos or South Africa’s more established FNB Joburg Art Fair—but rather aims to add to the developing African market and support the Marrakech art scene.
In that same vein, during the opening weekend of MACAAL and 1-54, the museum and fair joined forces with Gallery 1957 to present artist Elisabeth Efua Sutherland's performance Black Noise in the hangar of Comptoir des Mines Gallery. It was held in conjunction with a temporary pop-up exhibition at the gallery, which included installations by local artists. The Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj curated “Mi Casa Su Casa,” a salon-style group exhibition of ten Moroccan artists, including Youness Miloudi and Abdelghafour Benbadryef, with live music by Maalem Marwan.
“For me, 1-54 is like family, they have been helping me since I started,” said Hajjaj, “so it was very important for me to be a part of this moment in Marrakech and step aside to highlight local artists.” He intentionally hung the show in a way that might mirror how he would hang artwork at home, he said, to further underscore the close-knit nature of the Moroccan art scene.