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Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair


Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Image courtesy of Artshare

Born and raised in Morocco, Touria El Glaoui is the daughter of one of the most revered living Moroccan artists, Hassan El Glaoui. She has organized and co-curated significant exhibitions of her father's work including a major retrospective in Casablanca and Meetings in Marrakech, a joint exhibition with Winston Churchill's paintings hosted in Leighton House, London. She has a life-long passion for African art. 

Touria El Glaoui holds an MBA in strategic management and international business from Pace University, New York. Touria began her career in the banking industry as a wealth management consultant before moving to London in 2001 where she has undertook various business development positions in the Telecom/IT industry. She spent over five years working between London and various African countries and the Middle East in a business development capacity. She is a member of the Executive Committee of The Friends of Leighton House, London and a trustee of the Marrakech Biennial.

Touria El Glaoui. (Image courtesy of Artshare)


Art is important in my life... as I was born and raised with it, my father being an artist. As long as I can remember I have been surrounded by art, his studio was in the heart of our family home. Art is home.

Art goes best with... love.

Three words that best describe art according to you... fondness, curiosity and beauty.

An art exhibition you have enjoyed recently... Cezanne Site/No Site at the Thyssen–Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.

Best city to go to for art... London, as I live in London. It seems every day you are faced with a myriad of opportunities to engage with art, known or unknown. There is always something to see in this city.

Your favorite museum in the world... I would say the Frick Collection in New York, for me it remains unrivaled.

The artist you would like to have lunch with... Cezanne. As it so happens, during my childhood I was invited on several occasions to visit the artist’s house ‘le Jas de Bouffan’ in Aix en Provence.

If you were an artist, who would you like to be... Alighiero Boetti for he was passionate about non-western cultures and he introduced a new form of geopolitical collaboration to artistic practice. I also like to think that he would have supported 1:54 Contemporary African Art fair as we presented one of his collaborators, the late Fréderic Bruly Bouabré.

The artwork you’d like to have hanging in your living room... my father’s and those that I have a personal connection with.

Chinese contemporary art for you is like... African Contemporary Art, a real journey of discovery, much to explore and tangents to follow. With such geographical expanse, one is always learning and discovering artists and collectives, as well as artistic techniques and methods, both steeped in history and breaking new ground.

You need inspiration!
I am the Founding Director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. Having launched the inaugural edition at Somerset House in London in October 2013, 1:54 will return this year and run concurrently with the preeminent art fair Frieze, London. 1:54 is a leading platform promoting contemporary visual arts by established and emerging artists from across the African continent and the African diaspora. Its title references the 54 countries within the African continent to reflect the breadth and dynamism of its artistic production and culture. It provides a platform for artists and galleries, but with equal importance – for independent art spaces, institutions, critics and art professionals working or living across or in partnership with African nations. Also to take place was 1:54 Forum. Based on the overwhelming success of the first educational programme, Koyo Kouoh (Founding Director, Raw Material Company in Dakar) will again resume a curatorial role to lead 1:54 Forum, an extensive programme witnessing panel discussions, lectures, artist talks and film screenings to critically examine the current trajectory of contemporary African art production and practice in a global context, with leading professionals from the international art circuit. Primarily 1:54 featured 17 exhibitors and over 80 artists, now in its second edition and with planned development, the fair will showcase between 25 and 35 galleries, to highlight wider perspectives from the continent.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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