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The driving force behind Ayanfe Olarinde’s NFT collection: community

Originally published 11/07/2021

by Emily Drewry

It’s important to begin with the statement that Ayanfe Olarinde believes in the power of community. Her art, her relationship with collaborators, and her mission are all deeply focused on the people surrounding her.

The Nigerian artist has been internationally recognized for her scribble art and photography, having been named one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria in 2020. Her latest project: bringing together a group of collaborators to produce a series of NFTs as a part of the Voice NFT Residency.

Olarinde was brought into the NFT Residency by curator Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the African Artists’ Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Nigeria.

“Ayanfe is a special multidisciplinary artist who understands and has embraced the shifting currents of what art means in the twenty-first century,” says Nwagbogu.

The theme of all projects created within the Residency is, ‘Raise our voice,’ to which Olarinde ascribes a poignant meaning.

“It means bringing alive what’s hidden inside of you. Whatever it may be. It’s existent, it’s right inside us, our voice, in the core of our minds/thoughts/hearts,” she says. “It’s a full form of expression of self or collective expression of a common thing.”

Indeed, the collection’s messages tackle major society discussions such as dehumanization, toxic masculinity, spirituality, and more.

Created by collaborators Olarinde, Luke Agada, Obayomi Anthony Ayodele, Hermes Iyele, Joseph Obanubi, and Joshua David, the collection is presented as a mutual project, regardless of which artists worked on which pieces. It’s a universal sign of the group’s collective mission and vision: the possibilities opened by the world of art.

As for the future of NFTs and what impact they’ll have on the art world, Olarinde is hopeful. The value provided by the technology helps extend her ultimate vision.

“I hope art is accessible to all (regardless of race, gender, social class, etc.) and there are no boundaries to its consumption.”

Explore the collection here.

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