Kadara Enyeasi’s artwork, Kusama’s Dream/Obliteration.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Firetti Contemporary and MORROW collective are hosting an NFT|IRL (Non-fungible token/In Real Life) group exhibition, where NFT artworks and their physical counterparts are being exhibited side by side (Aug. 10 – Sept. 15).
This is the first of its kind exhibition in the region. The event — revolutionary of sorts — merges both digital and physical worlds, aiming to build bridges between crypto art and traditional or IRL art. With MORROW, Firetti Contemporary have produced a series of NFTs from a selection of their artists, which are hosted in the MORROW gallery in the virtual reality platform called Cryptovoxels. The exhibition consists of digital NFTs, displayed on screens next to the physical works. Audience members also have access to augmented reality and VR, through innovative tech platforms installed in the show.
Mara Firetti, Founder and CEO of Firetti Contemporary, says: “The emphasis of this exhibition is to shine a light on the technological developments within our field, whilst at the same time hosting a high quality, curated and impactful exhibition. “NFTs are already changing the way that art is bought and sold and, as we move towards the future, where this will be increasingly mainstream, it is important to embrace these changes.” The exhibition operates at net zero carbon, with emissions offset through the website, offsetra.com. It was highlighted on the CNN TV programme Global Gateway, aired internationally on July 12 and is available to view on the website.
Participating artists include Ahmed Emad, Kadara Enyeasi, Irvin Pascal, Josh Rowell, Helidon Xhixha and Fatiha Zemmouri. NFT|IRL marks the beginning of their journey into crypto art. Emad is an Egyptian digital artist who came to prominence as the designer of the sleeve of Pink Floyd’s 2014 album The Endless River. A photo manipulator, much of his artwork comes from his own dreams. Enyeasi is a Nigerian artist whose photography plays with form, space and perspective and often looks at the body in relation to the urban environment. Pascal aims to dissolve the traditional division between painting and sculpture, and has even developed his own material: Pascollar.
It can be formed like clay or plaster, but surpasses them in stability, durability and perhaps value. It is shaped by his hand alone, and not in a foundry.
Rowell balances analogue techniques with the instantaneous nature of the digital age. The juxtaposition produces a language that explores and reshapes information, and celebrates the hand-made in a time that is increasingly being enveloped by the virtual.
Xhixha is a contemporary artist known for his stainless steel sculptures, which is often fused with other mediums such as marble or brass. Zemmouri uses abstract vocabulary to simplify nature’s shapes and the fragility and the thinness of the materials she employs such as coal, burnt wood, ceramic and porcelain, give her artworks a poetic aspect. She is interested in metamorphosis and in her works, she highlights the notion of time that elapses between the starting object and the transformed object.
The works of the artists deal with themes ranging from war and conflict to freedom and social change and their styles range from abstract to figurative and bring compelling stories from around the world into one space.
Firetti Contemporary strives to build a multidisciplinary art space with a strong identity to an international platform by representing both established and emerging artists from all over the world. Bringing together like-minded individuals and pioneers of the artistic and expressive future, it assembles a curation of works, encouraging the importance of individuality, as well as establishing collective alignment. The aim, says the gallery, is to create meaningful and sustainable collections. Mara Firetti is an entrepreneur dedicated to the promotion and growth of international artists. In the last fifteen years as an art advisor and artist promoter, she principally dedicated her expertise in developing the career of sculptor Helidon Xhixha. Organising public events and international exhibitions in renowned institutions and art fairs has allowed her to acquire a large portfolio of high-profile art collectors and extensive experience as a press officer for artists, has helped her build a network of important relationships.
MORROW collective is an NFT curatorial platform founded in 2021 by Claire Harris, Anna Seaman and Jen Stelco. It builds the bridge between traditional art and crypto art by hosting virtual exhibitions of individually curated single edition NFT artworks and linking collectors to their physical counterparts.
They are owners of multiple gallery spaces across a range of the most sought after and exclusive Metaverse platforms and collectors with extensive portfolios, including some of the world’s leading crypto artists. “Metaverse” is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and seemingly physical virtual space, including augumented reality and the Internet. The term “metaverse” is used to describe the concept of shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. In the metaverse virtual world, you will see people from all over the world in the same space, and you can interact with them virtually. NFT|IRL forms a response to the rapidly changing landscape of art and creativity. By closing the gap between the two worlds, Firetti and MORROW are aiming to make NFTs more accessible to those in the real-life sphere.
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