• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 30 September 2021

First NFT by a contemporary African artist to be sold by Christie’s in Europe, in collaboration with
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Somerset House, London, 14 – 17 October 2021

1-54 in collaboration with Christie’s presents an auction of Nigerian crypto-artist Osinachi's NFT series Different Shades of Water. The digital artworks associated with the NFTs will be on view at 1-54 London 2021, curated by Daria Borisova. The online NFT auction will mark the first NFT by a contemporary African artist offered by Christie’s in Europe and is the first NFT collaboration for 1-54. The digital artworks associated with the NFTs in Different Shades of Water will be exhibited at Somerset House during the fair, with the online-only auction for the NFTs, First Open: Post-War and Contemporary Art Online, taking place from 5 to19 October. Christie’s partnership with 1-54 demonstrates the auction house's commitment to showcasing contemporary African art to their global client base. This is in addition to the 1-54 Online Powered by Christie’s platform that enhances exposure internationally.
Considered Africa’s foremost crypto artist, Osinachi (born Prince Jacon Osinachi Igwe, 1991), is a Nigerian visual artist whose work explores personal experiences within a technological environment. Aesthetically and procedurally, Osinachi’s work explores visible existence as protest by depicting and reimagining how individuals and collectives engage in advocacy for freedom of identity by thwarting societal expectations. This could be through the things they wear, the paraphernalia they adorn themselves with, or simply by being and existing in a form that society frowns upon. He was a finalist for the Bridgeman Studio Award 2019.
The five NFTs from Osinachi’s ongoing series Different Shades of Water, are inspired by David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972). In this series, Osinachi imagines what the pool would look like with different shades of water, playing with the position of the subject’s body, and exploring how daylight can change our perception of water in a pool. He builds on his signature style to emphasise the relationship between person and water in a world where people have adapted
to recreating nature and the natural body. Each piece is a commentary on the endless prioritisation of work and achievements over the wellbeing of the human body.
From a technical point of view, the series is a triumph for Osinachi in his quest to digitally create a believable water body across multiple digital paintings. He exclusively uses Microsoft Office to produce his work, pushing the programme’s limited design capabilities. Osinachi believes each piece he creates is a challenge that empowers him to become an even better artist.
For the first time, Christie’s will have a presence at an art fair with a booth showcasing Osinachi’s NFTs. In addition, Osinachi will offer a cryptocurrency “OSINA” to reward visitors to the fair and encourage collectors to build a community, exploring and interacting with the world of crypto by scanning a QR code to receive the OSINA via an app.
A portion of the proceeds from Christie's will be donated to the African Culture fund, a pan-African organisation supporting the arts education sectors and cultural and creative industries on the African continent. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Culture Fund has continued to support the resilience of African artists and cultural actors who the crisis has negatively impacted.


Thursday, October 14  7pm GMT Panel | The Virtual Salon   

Here, artists have produced a multitude of virtual forms and artefacts; NFTs, memes, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Within these interstitial spaces, creative practitioners have found tools that have enabled new forms of expression—an agency that enables independently-driven storytelling techniques that embody queer, feminist alter-narratives to breathe in open space. PRINCESS ALIA AL-SENUSSI, PhD (Cultural strategist, writer, patron, public speaker and academic) leads a discussion with OSINACHI (Artist), SUMAYYA VALLY (Principal Architect, Counterspace), GEMMA ROLLS-BENTLEY (Chief Curator, Avant Arte) with SPECIAL GUEST. 

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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