Impact of Nfts on Middle East Art

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Last Updated on January 14, 2024 by newseditor

Creative spaces worldwide have embraced the trend of NFTs to usher in a new form of digital ownership. People are turning millionaires overnight with the splash of digital tokens being traded online for free. Many industry analysts also believe NFTs are changing how Middle East art is created, perceived and owned.

Meanwhile, a new wave of NFT art has emerged from the Middle East and is set to join the global virtual realm. Throughout the region, several collectors, including Bandar Al-Wazzen, founder of the art gallery Gallery Bawa in Kuwait, have seen the rising opportunities in NFTs. If you’re interested in NFTs, here’s your guide on the impact of NFTs on Middle East Art.

Rise of NFTs In The Middle East

Shortly after the rise of cryptocurrencies in the region, NFTs gained widespread attention among many digital art collectors and firms in the UAE. In 2021 three Middle East-based NFT marketplaces raised about $10 million, with similar spaces becoming more popular around the region. An example is Art Dubai, the largest art fair in the region, dedicating a significant section to digital and NFTs.

NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens and represent a digital version of artworks and collectables. These digital assets may include artworks, gifs, songs, memes and even tweets. NFTs also offer the original version of a digital asset which can be sold and bought with all transactions recorded on the blockchain.

Although most digital assets are replicable, there can only be one original version. NFTs help creators and artists get value for their work. “NFTs give recognition to digital artists and their work and help to make it official,” said Dima Abdulkader, co-founder of Emergeast, an online digital art gallery based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Kristel Bechara is the Middle East’s first artist to launch her paintings in the digital space as NFTs to reach global collectors. Another example is Amrita Sethi, who forms her voice recordings into sound waves images to tell stories reaching a global audience on the blockchain.

Middle East art connoisseurs have also shown more acceptance for NFTs by creating the first-ever digital agency that promotes Islamic art NFTs to collectors in the UAE. The demand for Islamic art in digital tokens is rising every day with the growth of the NFT space. Several critical milestones have also been made to encourage more investors to embrace assets on the blockchain.

Bottom Line: Impact of NFTs on Middle East Art

“There is an element of technology that opens up new possibilities and new ways of collaboration,” says Dawn Ross, head of collections at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. He continued, “We see artists working with tech engineers, which we didn’t really have 20 years ago.”

NFTs have also helped many young artists create virtual galleries and increase their visibility across several platforms. It has also empowered creators to make long-term profits from their work every time it’s sold. However, there are still concerns about security and the need for more regulations to protect artists in the space.

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