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40 Under 40 Africa

Victoria Cooke  

28 September 2020

Director, Gallery 1957, Accra

Since 2017 Victoria Cooke has been director of Gallery 1957, which was launched in Accra in 2016 by Marwan Zakhem, a construction entrepreneur, and now has two spaces in the city. The gallery represents some of the most acclaimed artists working in West Africa today: recent solo exhibitions have featured the Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali, the British-Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor and the Ghanaian painter Serge Attukwei Clottey; its current exhibition focuses on a new series of monumental tapestries by Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté (until 18 November). The gallery also brings international artists to Ghana – a solo show of new work by Langlands & Bell, stemming from their study of the slave forts built by European slavers along the Ghanaian coast, was shown in Accra last year.

The gallery has a strong international profile, fostered by its presence at numerous fairs (Art Dubai, Untitled Art Miami Beach, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Unseen Amsterdam). During Cooke’s tenure it has also enhanced its local presence through talks, off-site projects and site-specific commissions; in recent years its artist residency programme has hosted the young Ghanaian artists Kwesi Botchway, Gideon Appah and Amoako Boafo. Prior to her move to Accra, Cooke worked as communications manager at David Zwirner in London. She has lived, worked and researched extensively across West Africa, in Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

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