Art is a reflection of society that allows for the expression of ideas in various forms such as visual art. As technology continues to advance, so does the expression of various visual art forms with people also evolving in how they experience and interact with them. Today, the combination of art and technology is known as arttech.
Thanks to emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality(VR), artists can make art digitally, which people can interact with and appreciate in the same form.
The Lagos Startup Expo will feature an immersive experience of arts for attendees as Raknida, an arttech startup using technology to sell black artists' artworks and connect them to art lovers, will be exhibiting at the expo.
Building up to the Lagos Startup Expo, we chatted briefly with Anthony 'Anth' Ezeokoye, Raknida's Founder and CEO of Insecta Studios, a creative services company. He shared some insights on what Raknida does and what attendees should expect from them at the Expo.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Raknida
I am a creative entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience in design creation, business management, and strategy. From creating/curating relevant art projects, strategic collaborations, and speaking at key events, I am pushing for a better world for artists in Africa, using Raknida and Insecta as launchpads. My goal is to design the future, using art and tech to build a world where visual creativity from Africa is celebrated globally.
How will you explain what Raknida does to a five-year-old?
Raknida helps people around the world who love art to get artworks from black or African artists at affordable prices. We are an arttech company, i.e. we use tech tools and methods to drive the growth of the digital art industry in Africa.
Through Raknida’s online marketplace, any art lover can order digital and digitised artworks such as wallpaper murals, canvas, or art prints. They can even bring some of our artworks to life using augmented reality.
Going a step further, we are in the process of manufacturing digital art frames. They are hardware devices that allow art lovers to stream art on their walls whenever they like (imagine iPod or Netflix but for art).
We call it the “Raknida Smart Frame”. Our commitment is to help young artists generate wealth by doing what they love while enhancing the experience of art for all art lovers globally.
What's your take on how far the Nigerian startup ecosystem has grown and where do you see that space in the future?
In the tech startup ecosystem, Nigeria is truly the giant of Africa, and the talents that we have are a force to reckon with globally. However, a high percentage of Nigerian startups are playing in one space — fintech — but there are so many more aspects of our lives in Africa that can be improved by tech.
That is why at Raknida, we focus on using technology to enhance the art space — a sector that’s often overlooked but is crucial for the preservation of identity, culture, and history. A strong arttech industry not only benefits artists, but also home and business owners, interior designers, hospitality industry players, and more.
As Africa is set to be the third-largest creative economy by 2030, it is important to build platforms that allow both existing and future African creatives to generate wealth by doing what they love.
Although there’s been significant overall advancement in Africa, people with access to tech are still in the minority. So, with more tech startups working together, access to quality living will be increased for more Africans, allowing us to expand our collective reach and position Africa as a global industrial force soon.
This 'collaboration over competition' mindset is what we uphold at Raknida, and we look forward to where it will take the arttech industry in the coming years.
What should attendees expect from Raknida at the Lagos Startup Expo?
Raknida will change the way people experience art at the Lagos Startup Expo. From artworks that come to life on your phone to artworks that can move within a frame; everyone at the Expo should expect to be wowed, and to get art pieces that will make their spaces truly inspiring!
Finally, what should we expect from Raknida in the future?
Despite the harsh economy of the country (particularly unfavourable to the art market), we’ve achieved a few milestones since launching Raknida's MVP in April 2022. At Raknida, we have recorded the interest of up to 200 African artists, curated artworks from over 30 of them, and have more than 300 products listed for sale on our marketplace (https://raknida.com).
We’re also working with over ten local and international partners, and have organised four exhibitions so far. Yet, this is just the beginning. Raknida will enhance the way art is experienced by black/African artists and art lovers today. Just like iTunes and Netflix do for the music and movie industries, respectively, our goal is to become the platform that gives everyone in the global art ecosystem the opportunity to freely explore and grow through expressions of art, culture, creativity, and identity.
Lagos Startup Expo will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. To attend the expo, head over to lagosstartupexpo.com to save your spot.