Growing up in Toronto, Canada, gallerist Hannah Traore was surrounded by art. “My mom really made sure that me and my three siblings were lovers of art,” says Traore, who is now based in New York. As an adult, she knew she wanted an art-related job. When she was left with “a lot of time to think”, in 2020, she made a swift decision: She would start her own gallery. Sure, she realised starting any business during a pandemic was a gamble, but after interning at the Museum of Modern Art and working as an installation coordinator at Stockholm’s Fotografiska, the 27-year-old Malian-Canadian felt she was finally ready to step out on her own. “I realised I had a lot of connections,” she says, “and a lot of ideas that were quite fleshed out – so I thought, why wait?”

On 20 January, she opened the Hannah Traore Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side. After only a few weeks, she’s already proven that she’s one of the art world’s most exciting up-and-comers (with a cool, downtown style to match). She focuses on showcasing BIPOC, immigrant, female, and queer artists. “It’s really important to not only give these artists a voice, but give them a genuine voice,” Traore says. “A lot of artists of colour are forced to work with gallerists who see them as their ‘woke ticket’.” Instead, she wants to create a space where these artists have the freedom to showcase their work how they see fit. “Artists of colour are so often forced to talk about their race or identity in their work, or else it’s not considered ‘viewable’,” she says. “I’ve spoken to many artists who feel like no one cares about their work, because you can’t tell that they’re Black.” 

 

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