Building an Accelerator for African Creators With Osinachi, Africa’s Foremost NFT Artist

If you’re involved in the NFT space, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Osinachi. On Sept. 28, the 30-year-old NFT artist from Nigeria joined Hiro’s weekly Twitter Spaces session to discuss a new accelerator program for African creators: Africa Here, on NFT marketplace MakersPlace.

October 12, 2022

Joe Bender, Hiro’s community manager, was the moderator for this one-on-one conversation that covered the following:

  • Osinachi’s entry into the NFT space
  • Africa Here and the program’s goal of giving African creators more exposure
  • Some of the barriers facing aspiring African NFT artists

You can listen to the full recording of the Twitter Spaces session, or read the abridged conversation below.

This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.


What drove you to investigate NFTs as a medium of art, as a medium of expression, and what drove you to launch collections of your own?


I had just finished my university education and wondered, “what am I going to make out of my life?” Jobs are not readily available here in Nigeria for someone like myself to just jump in and start working. But I felt that there was one skill that I had: I could make art on Microsoft Word, which is cool. I started reaching out to galleries and other players in the traditional art space, but I didn't get an opportunity. The only opportunity I got, or something close to that, was with a marketplace where I could sell my art as limited edition prints. 

And then I discovered the NFT space, or what was then known as art on the blockchain. I felt this was the natural place for me to be in because I'm a digital artist, and these traditional arts players aren't paying so much attention to digital arts. They say there are concerns around digital arts like proof of scarcity, proof of ownership, and provenance. I could meet other artists like myself in this sort of underground space, and we could share our work so that more people could see our art. We could possibly make money from these works and be able to put food on the table. 


Tell us a little bit about this accelerator: how it came into being, what you're excited to get out of it, and just what it means to the African NFT space.


So I got into a discussion with Caitlin Cruickshank, a Business Development Manager at MakersPlace, and we talked about how it was important to create support for African artists because of the noise that is in the space. There are so many African artists entering the space, but only very few are being seen right now. So there's a need to spotlight them, and from there, we sort of brainstormed. 

The intention is to say, “Africa is here. Here are the artists, take a look at them, and see what they are making. See what they believe in, see what their art is about.” 


So why MakersPlace? How has your relationship been with them, and why did you think MakersPlace was the perfect home for Africa Here?


Well, MakersPlace is one of the earliest NFT platforms in this space. MakersPlace also has a large collector base. People are buying art, people are putting out their art, and at this point MakersPlace is expanding to create more inclusivity, and also bring in more collectors. Through that, my idea of spotlighting African artists aligned with what they plan to do, which is to bring in more artists from different parts of the world.


What are the goals of the accelerator? What will you consider success, and what will make you consider it has achieved its goal of championing African NFT artists?


I think that in the short term, I hope that Africa Here leads to a conversation around these artists that are going to be selected, a conversation around the art, and where the art is coming from. And then on top of that, I would expect that these artists, through this accelerator program, get the financial support to actually be in the NFT space full-time.

But in the long term, I want this program to help not just spotlight this initial round of artists, but to bring about conversations where people would know that when we're talking about NFTs, when we're talking about crypto art, when we're talking about art on the blockchain, Africa has a very important place there. 


What do you see as some of the biggest challenges or things to overcome in positioning Africa as a powerhouse in the NFT landscape, and what needs to be done to address them? 


Well, failed leadership, which is one big thing here in Africa, especially in Nigeria. You have these leaders who really don't think about the country at large. You see that in a country like Nigeria, the central bank has said that financial institutions are not allowed to process crypto-related transactions. So where does that leave you as a young person in Nigeria, who wants to maybe buy some ETH to meet your work? 

I'm hoping that as time moves on, the central bank will reconsider their position. I've had so many people, especially artists, tell me that that very policy, that very announcement, when it came out in February of last year, was what stopped them from entering the NFT space. So I think these policies are actually the biggest hindrances. 

When we talk about infrastructure, I think the idea of having a computer that can do the work that you want to do is also included there because these computers are expensive, right? They are imported, and they are priced in US dollars, and not many young people have the means to actually buy them. I was privileged to have a laptop with my family. Not many people have that privilege.


I do want to give you a chance to mention your drop in November on MakersPlace. That's kind of involved in the Africa Here accelerator on November 10. It's going to be an exclusive drop from yourself. Tell us a little bit about it.


The title is “Laundry Day.” It’s a sort of metaphor for renewal. When you do your laundry, you take your dirty laundry, you put them in the washing machine, and you wait. And as you're waiting, you're actually having a conversation with other people who are in the laundromat. So all of you, in that very laundromat, at that very moment, are on a journey of renewal because your laundry is going to be done and you can wear these clothes again and they feel new. 

I'm not going to give so much of a visual interpretation or description of it, but it will drop and everyone will have a chance to see it. That is the beautiful thing about the crypto art space: there is a democratization in the enjoyment of art. Nobody just buys it and locks up in the vaults so that no other person can see it. Every person can see it, enjoy this art and relate to the story behind the artwork. 

Tune in to Hiro Happy Hours Twitter Spaces every Wednesday at 3pm ET to hear from different innovators in Web3 and learn more about what’s happening in the space.

Copy link
Hiro news & product updates straight to your inbox
Only relevant communications. We promise we won’t spam.

Related stories