2/3. 6.2022 – »I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE«: NFT & CRYPRO ART AS SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART PRACTICES with Osinachi, Lerato Shadi, Sea Novaa, Nikomambo and Tristan Littlejohn
NFT art is a game-changing format in digital arts using non-fungible tokens or »digital collectibles« linked to a piece of art. The art might be visual (graphical, filmed, photographed), musical, a URL or a tweet. These »digital original works« do challenge the traditional art market as well as common terms of uniqueness and ownership. For artists, especially artists from outside the elite art world, it’s an opportunity to enter the market, to trade independently of a gallery and connect with like-minded (foremost »digital natives«). For collectors the blockchain technology is the record of origin that allows them to keep the feeling of authenticity and a »real-world value«.
The term CRYPTO art refers to art using blockchain technology, thus being a sub area of digital arts familiar to animation and interactive installations. Seeing the rise of the digital sphere in our society, the question rises where we do experience and consume art in the future besides museums and galleries. In regard of the still colonial and western hierarchies of the art market, we ask which opportunities of empowerment NFT art can bring for artists from Africa and African diaspora speaking of visualization, monetization, entering and diversifying the art industry and creating trans-local community. The closed network within which fine art is traditionally produced, rated and purchased caps just how far those outside the network can progress within it. CRYPTO art allows those disadvantaged artists to break barriers, expand their global reach without going through a prestigious and selective dealer. Thus, it is an intervention against the systematically racist practices of the traditional art sector, a liberation from class, place and medium.
The PANEL »I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE«: NFT & CRYPRO ART AS SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART PRACTICES« at M.Bassy wants to dive into NFT and Crypto art inviting the NFT artist OSINACHI – NFT creator and Africa’s foremost crypto artist, chief creative officer for »SocialStack« having launched his own social currency »$OSINA«. He enters into a lively dialogue with the artists LERATO SHADI, NICHOLAS ODHIAMBO as well as with the digital transformation advisor TRISTAN LITTLEJOHN about solidarity economic and socially engaged art practices approaching the NFT sphere from different angles–economically, artistically, sociologically and technically.
In the accompanying WORKSHOPS the audience has the chance to acquire knowledge in the creation of a NFT artwork: from choosing the technical equipment, the NFT digital art market place and app, over assessing the costs and the right work to select, to reflecting about methods of sale in view of the (social) profit and value making. But not to forget, the question behind all is: How can we contribute to build a community of empowered artists from Africa and the African diaspora in the NFT space? How can the sole commercialization of their works be avoided? Nowadays, more and more, the concept of ownership is less about concrete material, but about narratives and gaining value through receiving and passing these on. In »Ubuntu« philosophy it states that, »I am because you are« meaning the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.
Lerato Shadi (born in Mahikeng, South Africa, lives and works in Berlin) studied art at the University of Johannesburg and earned a M.A. in Spatial Strategies at the Kunsthochschule Berlin- Weissensee. Her work has been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions, a.o.: KINDL – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2021), M.Bassy e.V., Hamburg and Musée d‘Art Moderne de Paris (2020); 14th Curitiba Biennial in Brazil, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (both 2019); Kunsthal Amersfoort in Holland, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town (both 2018); as well as in the program The Parliament of Bodies at documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany (2017).
Prince Jacon „Osinachi“ Igwe
Prince Jacon »Osinachi« Igwe (born 1991 in Aba, Nigeria) is about Africa’s foremost crypto artist and NFT (non-fungible token) creator. He is known for using Microsoft Word as his medium. He is the chief creative officer for SocialStack, a social token protocol on Ethereum and Celo. He launched his own social currency $OSINA. He studied library and information science and English literary studies only entering the crypto art scene in 2017. In 2020, he held his debut solo show »Osinachi: Existence as Protest« at the Kate Vasse Galerie, Zurich. He partnered with the Mohamed Amin Foundation to release NFTs for a catalogue of photo and video works leading to launch $Afrofuture, an Ethereum-based social currency.
Nicholas Odhiambo Mboya
Nicholas Odhiambo Mboya also known as Nikomambo (born in Kisumu, Kenya) attended Mwangaza School of fine arts where he graduated with a diploma in fine arts and design. Nikomambo started out as a painter before venturing into mixed media art. He considers himself a multidisciplinary artist in the fields of graphic and installation. Nikomambo has exhibited in numerous exhibitions both local and international among other workshops and art residency, i.e. Brush tu art studio and Syowia Kyambi studio. He draws inspiration from human behavioural patterns, memory, socio-political and economical matters. With these, he creates imagery laced in ideology to communicate with the viewer and evoke an emotion. Nikomambo is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in arts at the Hoschschule Für Bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK).
Sea Novaa is a Bahamian-American composer and multi-disciplinary artist. Their compositions and sonic sculptures are deeply influenced by the avant-garde aesthetic, electronic music, Taoism, and their Afro-Caribbean roots. Novaa's works explore themes of nature, spirituality, Afro-futurism, and self-exploration, and they seek to create sound worlds that fuse together acoustic and electronic means of expression. Currently, Novaa is traversing the nexus between sound, generative art, and abstract painting. Their influences are Harold Budd, Alice Coltrane, Eliane Radigue, Toru Takemitsu, Mark Rothko, and Jesse Murry.
Tristan Littlejohn is a Berlin based Digital Transformation Advisor and entrepreneur following a deep passion for decentralization, innovation, venture building, and education. In his professional career he's touched every part of the technology and business stack contemplating the rise and progression of technologies such as blockchain that are ushering in digital transformations that will not only foster innovations technologically, but change the economic and social fabric of society as a whole. He was CEO & Co-Founder at »Based Global«–a blockchain ticketing company-and is now part of the team of »TrillionaireFlex«–a collective and platform that provides education and technology for artists of the Web 3.0 creator economy.