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How NFTs Have Empowered Artists in African Art Scenes

The traditional art world has always presented barriers to entry, but the advent of non-fungible tokens suddenly created a more open playing field and more ready opportunities for the distribution and sale of art. Although a good portion of the world has caught NFT mania, the growth in Africa has been explosive, and it’s given a voice to a whole new crop of creatives. Osinachi is regarded as one of the first digital artists (if not the first) to spark the NFT wave in Nigeria. In 2021, he became the first African NFT artist to be featured at Christie’s in London; and his NFTs have achieved large sums, like Becoming Sochukwuma, which sold for $80,000 on SuperRare. In contrast to the growing NFT infrastructure in Nigeria, in Ethiopia, the art world is blooming, yet the emergence of NFTs is new. You wouldn’t know that, however, by looking at the work of Kiya Tadele—the Ethiopian model and artist who started the art collective Yatreda with members of her family in 2021. The collective is aimed at using blockchain technology to preserve Ethiopian cultural heritage. Young Kev started making NFTs in April 2021, a time when few Kenyan artists were finding their way into the tech space. For Kev, making NFTs meant forming connections and expanding his reach, in addition to selling his work.