Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

NFT and Growth of African Artists on the Platform

Jan 04, 2022 09:30AM ● By Anand Subramanian
the word "NFT" in a circle and surrounded by encrypted code

Figure 1 - The NFT and revolution in the art field. Source - Google

African art sales, even though they are on the rise, still only make up less than 1% of the $50 billion global art market. What if there was a way for African artists to keep making money from their work for as long as they want? There are digital assets called NFTs that use the blockchain to keep track of things like images and videos and other things that people want to buy or sell. Their roaring popularity has confused many people, but their rapid growth shows no sign of stopping. African artists are taking advantage of the art world's move to the digital world by making NFTs. They're also making more money while they're at it, even though the government is cracking down on cryptocurrency. The value of NFTs is based on the fact that they can't be traded for the same value as other cryptocurrencies, like exchanging one ethereum for another. This makes them more valuable because there are only a limited number of them, giving them scarcity value. 

One of the continent's first crypto art collections was sold at auction by Rich Allela, who used non-fungible tokens (NFTs). African culture and tradition is the subject of Allela's work in this collection as well as his other work, which includes this collection of photos. Rewriting the African narrative and using augmented reality in one of his shows in Nairobi in 2019, he is no stranger to innovation. According to Quartz Africa, a digital media firm in Africa, Picha Images, has helped assist his work by launching the continent's first crypto art NFT. OpenSea, one of the world's biggest NFT digital markets, sponsored the auction from April until mid-May 2021.

As a digital artist, Osinachi is one of Nigeria's most bankable. Osinachi, a former librarian, claims his NFT works may fetch him up to five figures. It wasn't until 2019 that he scoured the markets and discovered the boom. Collectors were unable to visit real galleries during the epidemic, which led many of them to learn about NFT Spaces. Founder and CEO of Magic Carpet Studios, Ferdy 'Ladi Adimefe, claims that African artists are embracing the NFT sector, but there are still a lot of individuals on the continent who aren't part of the data economy. One of the firms assisting African artists to join the trend is Magic Carpet. They want to assist traditional artists to learn how to use digital tools so that they may digitize and market their work, the CEO explained in an interview with CNN.

Figure 2 - NFT Marketplace. Source - Google

African artists have a lot to gain if they can make use of platforms like these. Artists will be able to set up royalty payments and have complete visibility into secondary purchasers, allowing them to profit from their work in perpetuity. Africa's NFTS is one of the rare opportunities the region has to compete with the West on an almost equal footing. Those who have access to a reliable internet connection and a desire to study may take advantage of the available options. As well as financial rewards, some artists anticipate that crypto art would provide them with more artistic control and creative freedom. Africa's artists have been making what they feel the client wants for a long time now. Because they've studied the market, they've figured out what works and are concentrating their efforts there. It restricts their ability to express themselves freely. However, although the success of art is always subjective, it seems to be much more difficult to anticipate in the crypto world—what sells for tens of dollars vs thousands of dollars. As a result, artists may be able to carve out unique markets for their work. One of Kenya's previous high-ranking IT officials, Bitange Ndemo, wrote an op-ed for Business Daily in which he discussed the potential for NFTs to resurrect long-forgotten archival data from libraries and museums. Some of Kenya's most treasured sports memorabilia is withering away in media houses, which might be digitized and used to generate revenue for the government.

Foreign fairs in Europe, North America, and Asia are the most prominent sources of funding for contemporary art in most African nations, which rely heavily on international cooperation organizations formed in the country or tourism. Online NFT markets like SuperRare or Showtime enable users to "like" or "comment" on particular works of digital art. They are using virtual reality platforms online or at home to exhibit their digital artwork files, such as jpegs, mp4s, or 3D digital models. As a result, art galleries, auction houses, and art shows are following suit. As part of the sixth edition of Art X Lagos, the largest art expo in West Africa – and the largest in Africa – online auctions of digital art were held in cooperation with SuperRare, while art enthusiasts toured over 30 leading galleries.

Figure 3 - Art X Fair in Lagos, Nigeria. Source - Reuters.

Because of the NFT, African artists may now sell their work to a global audience without the need for Western middlemen. Both the economic ties between Western nations and their former colonies and the creation itself that is impacted by marketing trends produced in Europe or the United States are relevant to this remark today. This "African modern art," as it is termed by some, may now transcend beyond the Western constructs that ignore the diversity of cultures that exist throughout the continent, according to Jendalma Art and Design. The African community of the NFT has a significant claim to the afro-futurism trend in crypto-art, which combines digital painting, video, and 3D. For the first time, artists from the continent will be able to amass significant riches and maintain evidence of their work's impact in the NFT art world.

African crypto-artists may thus promote a whole continent's traditions on the blockchain and immortalize their cultural effect on the crypto-art movement via their deeply embedded creative practices. It is feasible to empower artists with the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they see fit. It is now feasible to bring about a paradigm shift in the art market and a creative economy that serves African artists!

 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

Read more from Anand Subramanian:

Top 5 Black Contemporary Artists Who Are Making a Cultural Difference

Every form of art has established rules and borders around its genres in the creative spectrum, but contemporary artists have shattered those borders and redefined the meaning of art. Read More » 


5 Best African American Cinematographers

Let's take a deeper look at African Americans in the film industry, particularly the few but mighty who work directly behind the camera. Read More » 


Figure 1 - Mobile Photography tips Source - Pexel

Compositions for Mobile Photography

By practicing and using any of the composition strategies, you will learn to direct your viewers to the emotions you wish to elicit and, eventually, match what you envisioned with what yo... Read More »