NFTs can give Nigeria’s digital art players a big break, but the costs are steep
What you need to know about non-fungible artwork. Source: Stears Business

Walking into room 6 of the Denon wing at the Louvre Museum seemed like a chore. The line was long; tourists stood by admiring smaller surrounding art pieces—school children on an art excursion hushed by their chaperones. We steered towards one of the most significant and historic paintings known worldwide—the Mona Lisa.

Some takeaways

  • Digital disruption in the art industry has picked up pace as rising interests in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are drawing more popularity to digital art.

  • The NFT market (known for the platform used for digital art sales) traded more than $700 million in the second quarter of 2021.

  • Nigerian artists may face challenges trying to take up space in the NFT art market.

It was hard not to notice the Mona Lisa's eyes as I entered the brightly lit room. That is one of the unique characteristics of the much-hyped painting. Her gaze follows you everywhere. Still, standing on the queue, inching closer to the portrait, other strategic artworks surrounded her, but she was the star of the room. Everyone held their phones to capture her frame from different perspectives.

The best way to experience art and all the feels that come with it is by strolling through the corridors of an art gallery. Up until 2019, you could stop by an art exhibition to have a glance at who the new kid on the art block is. All that changed when the emergence of NFTs made its mark. People didn't have to stand in line to admire art or be physically present anyway. Digital art—pieces where digital technology is part of the creation process—changed the game. 

I hope to build my private art collection in the future, so discovering and understanding the business of art is something I've leaned towards. But when I heard about a record-breaking sale of a $69.3 million digital art piece by Beeple, I knew my knowledge of art had barely scratched the surface.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this article will talk about NFTs and how digital media like Beeple's or Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's first-ever tweet, which sold for $2.9 million, is filling up headlines. And if you've plied through your social media feed and haven't come across the new fad, you should keep reading.

NFTs have become the saviour for what many would deem the struggling career of an artist trying to make ends meet, and its effect is trickling down to this part of the world (Nigeria). So what exactly are NFTs, and why is there such a spark among art creators and enthusiasts alike? 

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Anne-Marie Amadi-Emina

Anne-Marie Amadi-Emina

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