Touria El-Glaoui Founds 1-54 to Give Contemporary African Art a Voice

Touria El-Glaoui is the founder of 1-54
Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao and Touria El-Glaoui

Touria El-Glaoui is the founder of 1-54, the first leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Touria takes us a journey from her Moroccan heritage to a career in finance in the United States, to rediscovering the vibrant African art world.


In creating 1-54, Touria El-Glaoui ’s mission is to give contemporary African art the platform and voice it deserves. She talks about its creation, navigating early obstacles, and important decisions that set 1-54 up for success. 1-54 created a market that wasn’t present at its launch in 2013.

Touria gives advice for emerging African artists and 1-54’s role in inspiring the next generation. She talks about while having a good partner could be helpful, it’s important to know you can do things as an independent woman.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • 00:00-3:54: The origins and growth of 1-54
  • 04:28-7:51: What 1-54 is about and creating a market that wasn’t yet there
  • 7:51- 12:33 Touria’s background, being raised as the daughter of two creative people and granddaughter of a Pasha of Marrakesh
  • 12:34-15:56: Creating standards for 1-54 and pushing back against expected roles
  • 15:57-20:55: Touria’s past career in finance in the United States, and returning to Morrocco as a repatriated African selling infrastructure
  • 20:56-22:50: Discovering creativity on the African continent not seen elsewhere
  • 22:51-24:16: Working on an ongoing project of her father’s work and how it informed the creation of 1-54
  • 24:17-26:35: Our responsibility as African entrepreneurs and providing a platform for its voices
  • 26:36-33:40: Overcoming some sponsorship and investment obstacles to grow the brand
  • 33:40-35:21: How having great advisors with business experience to guide at the beginning helped her make smart brand choices
  • 35:22-37:41: Learning to work and negotiate with vendors
  • 37:42-41:02: Earning accolades in Forbes and how to approach media interest
  • 41:03-47:18: Touria’s advice for young and emerging artists; using 1-54 as a goal to shoot for
  • 47:19-51:44: Fielding questions about family and partnerships, but knowing you can do things independently
  • 51:56-53:38: Correct pronunciation of Touria
  • 53:38-55:42: Where to connect with Touria and 1-54

Mentioned Resources

About Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao

Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao attended Grenoble Ecole De Management where she received a Master’s in International Business. She also holds a Bsc (Hons) in Informatics. She is mother, an international and entrepreneurial leader. The Founder and Managing director of Malée Natural Science; Africa’s 1st global luxury fragrance and body care brand operating across two continents with products available in 9 countries in wholesale, B2B, Hospitality, E-commerce and travel retail. An advisory board member and Program director at INNOCOS, the world beauty innovations summit as well as a consultant and international speaker and beauty industry expert on the luxury beauty and cosmetics industry, sustainability practices, innovation, disruption, trends and brand heritage.

Featured in international TV and Media publications such as CNN, The Telegraph, Grazia, ELLE Magazine, Glamour, Oprah Magazine and Atlanta Post. She is a pioneer of Female owned luxury business in Africa and is passionate about innovation. Zeze is the host of the pioneering podcast Third Culture Africans. She shares entrepreneurial tips and more on her personal website Zezeonline.com