Saudi Arabia has just concluded its first Digital Art Forum, which brought together art enthusiasts at the Jax District in Riyadh. The event, which took place from February 25 - 27, was hosted by Sotheby’s and the Kingdom's Visual Arts Commission, a department of the Ministry of Culture, as part of the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale.
However, what makes this forum unique is that it's the first in Saudi Arabia to showcase "Non-fungible tokens," or NFTs in short. An NFT is a multimedia file that is sold to a unique owner, which can either be an image, video or audio, and can oftentimes be priced based on rarity. They're hosted via blockchain and may also be traded to new owners.
For this event, 10 NFTs were featured, including the highly popular Bored Ape Yacht Club collection by Yuga Labs LLC. In addition, Saudi talents such as Ahaad Al-Amoudi featured their NFTs, most notably "The Mirage." This short video NFT features a dog running, a man riding on a horse, and the sound of an Arab man speaking in a loop.
"The dogs, the more they love you, the harder they will run for you on the day of the race. It’s about relationships; it’s not all about training," Al-Amoudi commented about her NFT.
The inaugural Digital Art Forum featured panel discussions and workshops where prominent artists in the NFT scenes, curators, and collectors came together to discuss digital art, blockchains, and NFTs. In addition, attendees were given the opportunity to purchase NFTs via platforms like OpenSea.
Sebastian Fahey, Sotheby’s Managing Director for the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) territory, shared his thoughts on the forum's decision to feature NFTs.
"Crucially, it's another opportunity for us to service our clients, deliver what they want, and introduce them to new and exciting collecting fields," he told Gulf News in a recent article.