Local Indian artist Visithra Manikam is finally getting the global recognition she deserves, including having three of her artworks snapped up online by renowned American rapper Snoop Dogg.
This after being denied support and facing discrimination back home for six long years, for her work being "not good enough" and too "Indian", reported The Vibes.
The said artworks were sold with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum.
Non-NFT assets are fungible, meaning they can be replaced or exchanged with another identical one of the same value, much like a dollar bill, while NFTs, on the other hand, are unique and not mutually interchangeable, which means no two NFTs are the same.
Speaking to The Vibes, Visithra said that prior to discovering NFTs earlier this year, she struggled to receive recognition in Malaysia.
"Very few Malaysian Indian artists get opportunities in the top Malaysian art galleries, nor in government-funded exhibitions. Cendana (Cultural Economy Development Agency) had a show in 2019 with 42 artists, but only one was Indian.
"I’ve been in shows where I’m the token Indian. Between January and September 2019, there were 71 exhibitions in the top nine galleries – only six shows featured Malaysian Indian artists," she said.
"When I brought this up, I was told my art wasn’t good enough, it was too ‘Indian’. However, at the same time, we see those who culturally appropriate our art and culture getting solo exhibitions with these galleries," Visithra added.
Career Picks Up
She then started participating in exhibitions outside of Malaysia to gain recognition, including in the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. She held her first NFT exhibition in New York last September.
Visithra sold her artworks to Snoop Dogg on the NFT OpenSea platform, which is currently the biggest international NFT platform.
In fact, she is also Malaysia's biggest-selling artist on the platform, with more than 190 collectors from the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, China, Latin America, and Europe, among others.
Recalling the purchase, Visithra said Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. sent her a direct message as an anonymous collector to talk about her art.
Only after the discussion gained traction that he revealed who he was, and picked three of her works.
According to the report, Visithra's art collection has accumulated approximately RM1.58 million in volume traded, which refers to the sales of NFTs on the primary and secondary by owners. Secondary sales will provide royalty payments to the artist.
Visithra's art has also been shared by Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon, and celebrity talk show host Jimmy Fallon follows her on the platform.
Compared to the traditional circuit where artists do not receive any royalty payment when their artworks are resold at auctions, and the galleries can take up to 50 per cent of an artist's earnings, every secondary sale on an NFT platform would earn the artist 10 per cent in royalties.
This allows artists to independently sell their art, at the same time, ensuring lifetime royalties, Visithra noted.
She urged local Indian artists to explore, and learn about the NFT industry, to widen their exposure and reach.
Source & Photo source: The Vibes
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