NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens are properties that exist in the blockchain and symbolise ownership of an item that has been digitised. These assets have a unique certificate of authenticity which makes them rare valuables, and cannot be copied or stolen. From news agencies to cricketers to billionaires, everybody wants a piece of the NFT cake. Rima Kallingal is the latest actor to jump on to the NFT bandwagon and has created history by becoming the first Malayalam actor to do so.
Her artwork was created in collaboration with other artists, Francis Kurien aka Franky, Lami aka Lakshmi KTP, Mahesh Krishnan aka Bohomonk, and NFT Malayali, a global collective of Malayali artists in the crypto art space. The artwork titled ‘The Insurgent Bloom’, inspired by Neelakurinji, the flower that blooms once in 12 years in the Western Ghats, debuted on the ethereum based digital marketplace, Foundation. Franky helmed the photoshoot and motion graphics, Boho created the content, and Lami composed the music.
Rima, in a conversation with News18, said “As artists, we’re constantly on the lookout for mediums to express yourself, to rebel against, to rant about the status quo and propagate the vision you’re passionate about. This new metaverse that’s opened up in the digital space and the reach it gives you as an artist is crazy. Right now this looks like the future to me.”
After Bollywood dived into the NFT world, she said the Malayalam industry is getting out there too, thanks to the NFT Malayali community across the world. “This group of young, enterprising artists from all over the world are helping their comrades bridge the gap between technology and art. The beauty of it is how they stand for each other and want everyone to succeed. I love this term ‘wagmi’ in the NFT metaverse which means we’re all going make it and that’s the spirit of this space which makes it so special.”
A vocal supporter of women’s issues, Rima announced on her social media post that 50% of what the artists make out of NFT will be used to support movies made by women.
The auction for the artwork started on October 17 and ended on October 18 with the highest bid being 2.75 ether (Rs 7.73 lakh or $10,263.03) offered by Barthazian, who bought it. Fabin Rasheed, a generative artist from Alleppey, was another bidder for the artwork.
Talking to News18 about his historic purchase, Barthazian (prefers to be known by his online pseudonym), who is based out of Abu Dhabi with roots in Kerala, said several factors influenced his decision to buy ‘The Insurgent Bloom’. “The art was really my kind of aesthetic. Secondly, it was the first Mollywood-based NFT to my knowledge. The proceeds going to women artists in the industry also felt like a good fit for me.”
He has been active in the NFT space for the past three years. “I identify more as a trader but I also collect things I really like occasionally. I started out with Initial Coin Offering investments (a form of cryptocurrency that businesses use to raise capital) in 2018, learned about NFTs, and started exploring the ecosystem.”
Although, he added, investing in NFTs is 100% risky especially because art, in general, is a difficult market to invest in. “It can be illiquid for years with low chances of it having secondary market value. This particular buy is less of an investment for me and more of an exposure vehicle for NFTs in Kerala.” He believes that India will be one of the largest consumers within this digital media in the next decade.
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