The Mohamed Amin Foundation, a Kenya-based charity that provides training to young African journalists, has partnered with Nigeria’s leading cryptoartist Osinachi and other tech experts, including Socialstack CEO Andrew Berkowitz, to drop NFTs in its expansive catalogue featuring 2.5 million photographs and more than 5,000 hours of video content.
Launched by the Foundation, alongside the NFTs, was $Afrofuture, an Ethereum-based social currency that facilitates the sale of works from the collection while unlocking funding opportunities for African creatives. 20 per cent of proceeds from sales of images is expected to go to the $Afrofuture treasury.
Named after the late photojournalist who achieved world renown for his 1984 report of the Ethiopian Famine, the Foundation has access to a collection of images of timeless significance that has been described as “the world’s greatest unexplored historical artifact.”
The virtual launch, held on Clubhouse on 3 May 2021 and attended by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was followed by the release of five photos: a young Muammar Gaddafi, titled Colonel Gaddafi; John F. Kennedy Jr. visiting Africa, titled The Kennedy Handshake; Hallie Selassie riding alongside Jomo Kenyatta, titled The Kings; the late Amin taking a shot, titled The Godfather; and Nelson Mandela just after his 1990 release from prison titled Mandela Fist of Victory.
“We have, like so many others, been working to adapt and re-model our business to survive these very challenging times,” said Salim Amin, Founder and Chairman of the Mohamed Amin Foundation, in a press release sent to Folio Nigeria.
“We have had a chance to work on our Archives while in lockdown and have discovered so much that I never knew existed, or that my father had actually photographed or filmed! It is truly a treasure and something we are very keen to share with the world.”
Trading of non-fungible tokens, NFTs, which are unique digital files stored on a blockchain and sold as exclusive collectibles, has seen a boom in the past few months and birthed wild success stories, from American artist Beeple’s $69 million sale of a single NFT to the Lagos-based Osinachi who recently sold $75,000 worth of crypto art in just 10 days.
“Part of the proceeds from the sales will go to the foundation while a part will go towards sustaining a social money called Afrofuture,” Osinachi told Folio Nigeria. “Using this social money, we will commission African artists to create artworks that fall under the theme of Afrofuturism. A part of the proceeds will also go towards training archivists in Africa so the foundation or any other African cultural organization for that matter won’t have to go abroad to employ manpower.”
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a journalist, social critic and literary enthusiast. He is the recepient of the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize, the 2020 Speculative Literary Foundation’s Diverse Writers Grant and the 2020 K&L Prize for African Literature. He is the founder of SprinNG, a platform dedicated to the development of young African writers.