Kenyan bag designer launches NFT inspired by Maasai woman



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Kenyan bag designer launches NFT inspired by Maasai woman


Nthenya Mwendwa’s non-fungible symbolic artwork. PHOTO | SWIMMING POOL

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Summary

  • Nthenya Mwendwa, a Kenyan artist and designer of luxury leather bags, has turned to the space to sell her digital pieces.
  • She has showcased her collection, Mistari, on Fibo, a Cardano NFT marketplace run by a global blockchain technology company, Emurgo.
  • NFTs are digital assets that cannot be replicated – they are encrypted on blockchain – and represent items such as art, music, videos, game assets and photos.

As millennial millionaires pour their fortunes into digital art assets sold on blockchain-supported platforms, a small group of Kenyans are joining in to amass wealth.

The non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming the most sought after digital art assets.

Nthenya Mwendwa, a Kenyan artist and designer of luxury leather bags, has turned to the space to sell her digital pieces.

She has showcased her collection, Mistari, on Fibo, a Cardano NFT marketplace run by a global blockchain technology company, Emurgo.

The artist joins a few Kenyans, including world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who makes money from the worldwide NFT craze.

“My passion to tell stories about my beautiful heritage and to show that Africa can make luxury products that can compete on a global scale has led me to tap into the NFT space,” said Nthenya.

“I wanted to share my stories and fashion in creative ways. And as an African designer who wants to share my African experience through my fashion, NFTs and soon the metaverse, it provides a unique and exciting way for other people around the world to experience the same and take ownership of that experience,” she said. .

NFTs are digital assets that cannot be replicated – they are encrypted on blockchain – and represent items such as art, music, videos, game assets and photos.

The Mistari collection is made up of five different NFT artworks called Binti created to reflect the women involved in the value chain in making its bags, also an attractive addition to the brand and the NFTs on the Fibo platform .

Each NFT will be different and can have fish leather or Maasai beads or both. She will also roll out one NFT at a time.

The public blockchain platform allows artists and musicians to transact their creative works using Cardano’s underlying digital currency, ADA.

Each NFT is sold for 250ADA equal to Sh30,897 as quoted on Thursday, however subject to dollar currency appreciation.

This means that the five will be sold for Sh154,485.

Nthenya is part of the fourth cohort of artist introduction under Cardano NFTS. The artwork is displayed alongside other NFT versions by artists from Australia, the US and India.

Open to global crypto enthusiasts, the collection represents her Kenyan roots and the strong feminine heritage that define her artistic brand, where she has worked with women to create the bags.

She runs a designer brand for leather bags, The.Label.Saba’.

The bags are made of hair-on cowhide leather, Maasai beads, fish leather and top grain leather with an eye on the international market.

Prices range from $150 to $420 (Sh17,289 to Sh48,409).

She has worked with the Ushanga Association, owned by women from the pastoral communities, in making traditional beads. She also works with women in the fish leather factory.

The digital artwork has been created since December with the help of a graphic designer.

“I worked with a talented graphic designer to bring my vision for this collection to life. It took some time to get to this point, but I’m glad we’ve achieved the desired effect for the artwork, which I think really translates the brand’s message through the expression of my art,” she said.

She is now looking for the NFT space to support the growth of her brand.

“As the brand expands its presence in the real world, we want the same growth to be reflected in the NFT space and the metaverse,” she added.

In April 2021, Kipchoge dipped his toes into the world of the NFT, wrapping two videos highlighting his September 2018 world record run in Berlin and the May 2019 Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, where he ran the marathon first in under two hours.

Kipchoge, widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner of all time, sold the two NFTs for Sh4.3 million in the auction hosted by online platform Momentible.

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