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Reclaiming African Art in Digital Form

Nigeria's Looty

Would it be possible to reclaim the art that was stolen from African territories during the colonial era and bring it back to Africa?

That is exactly what a young Nigerian man is trying to accomplish. When it comes to repatriating art, he prefers to do so digitally rather than physically.

According to 34-year-old Nigerian creative designer and founder of Looty Chidi, "This is the first digital repatriation of stolen artwork," he said. "I want people to focus on my project and not my person."

It occurred to me: Why don't we bring back the original digital artifacts?

After hearing about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), he came up with the idea for Looty, a digital wallet that allows users to prove their ownership of digital files.

Even though NFTs' legal rights are hazy, they're becoming more popular.

Two other Nigerians and a Somali help Chidi run the business, but he is the only one who started it.

No matter their specialization, each member of the team has traveled to museums in the UK and France to take pictures of the artwork using their mobile phones. They use 3D design, NFT technology, or editing software on their phones.

Even though they've only created around 25 pieces so far, some of which are famous Benin Bronzes that once adorned Nigeria's royal palace, the kingdom of Benin, they have big plans for the future.

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