Yatreda disrupts Art world with NFT’s and Blockchain
- Ethiopian collective embraces tech to make & sell art
- Authority and decentralization.
- The importance of NFT’s for an artist
- The future is digital for African Art
Embracing technology to make & sell art
Ethiopian art collective, Yatreda, is embraced technology to disrupt the business of Art. Their oeuvre or style is that of “tizita”, which means nostalgia or a longing for the past. As such, Yatreda create images and moving video clips inspired by Ethiopia’s classical history that are minted as NFT’s and sold on Block Chain. In so doing, Yatreda has moved beyond the gallery model in distributing and selling their work and also importantly preserving their art and culture via Blockchain.
A series of motion portraits that intimately capture the classic Ethiopian tales of kings, warriors, and kingdoms, Yatreda released their first NFT project, “Kingdoms of Ethiopia”, in 2021. Considering that Ethiopia is one of the oldest civilizations in all of Africa, Yatreda’s mission is to show that technology can contribute to the richness of Ethiopian culture, keeping it relevant while bringing identity, traditions, and history to a digital generation.
They have since released the most audacious project yet: a NFT project titled “Strong Hair” comprised of a collection of 100 looping motion portraits that celebrate the eccentricity and vividness of Ethiopian hairstyles that have survived the centuries. It is a deeply impactful narrative, and its success has proven that Yatreda is benefiting from the technology in 2 ways: authority and decentralization.
Authority and decentralization.
NFT’s combine authenticity and authority to Yatreda in a very pragmatic way. They can create art on their own terms, preserve their authorship as creators, ensure art can’t be counterfeited, and they get paid for their work without relying on traditional galleries or corporations. As their work is resold, they will continue to earn a percentage on each transaction ensuring that if their art goes up in value, they will continue to benefit.
NFTs also have the potential to decentralize the art world itself by eliminating global barriers and making this market accessible to those who have been historically excluded. They cut out the middlemen who control access to buyers and collectors and take the lion’s share of sales. NFT’s purchased at lower tier or entry level prices can also swiftly accrue value with repeated resale. This means that new markets of art collectors have emerged and more people have the opportunity to collect authentic pieces of art, in turn helping develop more emerging artists.
The importance for African artists cannot be underestimated. For those who lack access to the world and business of Art, actual careers and life changing, professional longevity are becoming viable.
The importance of NFT’s for an artist
For founder, Kiya Tadele, distributing Yatreda’s work via this modality has deep significance. “In my past as a model or working on the sets of other photographers or films, I would work very hard, but we would give our work to the internet, or to a client. I had one big question coming and going in my mind: Do I own what I create? I always wanted to do my own thing. With NFTs, I could create my own vision and share it with the world—and most importantly, do something classic that preserved my dignity. It became meaningful, like visiting a museum or art gallery”, said Kiya. Along with Kiya, the Yatreda team also include her two sisters, Roman and Suzy Tadele; her husband, Joey Lawrence; and friends, Tigist and Abiy.
The future is digital for African Art
Technology has been integral to Yatreda’s success, in how they create art, what its looks like and how its traded. This seamless intersection of Ethiopian Culture and the evolution of digital technology is a standout example of how Africa is at the forefront of the digital horizon, actively crafting a future on its own terms.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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