The 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair has cancelled its upcoming Marrakech edition, set to open in March, amid a worldwide surge of Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. This is the second year in a row that the fair has been cancelled because of the virus. It will again be replaced with a more intimate event held at Christie’s in Paris, which will run April 7–10.
In a statement on 1-54’s website, the organizers said: “The reality of the present world situation and the uncertainty of travel restrictions, alongside other factors, are profoundly affecting our future plans. 1-54 Marrakech will be back as soon as health conditions allow it.”
In recent months, Morocco has imposed strict restrictions on international travel to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. Flight and ferry services into the country were suspended in November, dealing another blow to the nation’s tourism economy. Earlier this month, Moroccan tour operators gathered in front of the tourism ministry in Rabat, the country’s capital, to protest the border closures, calling for their businesses to be saved from bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the Omicron variant has forced other art fairs to revise or abandon plans for an in-person edition this winter. The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, announced today that its 35th edition will be postponed from March to June 25–30, coming a week after Art Basel in Switzerland. A Covid outbreak at TEFAF’s 2020 show closed the fair early, and the fair also decided to cancel the 2021 edition in the Dutch city.
“This was a complex situation which required the input and flexibility of many different individuals and organizations to enable us to reschedule TEFAF Maastricht. We are proud to join several other leading art fairs in June for a key moment in the art world calendar this year,” Hidde van Seggelen, TEFAF chairman, said in a statement.