The exhibition will showcase over 500 artworks from 100 artists, half of whom are Malaysians. - File pic credit (Free Malaysia Today)
ON June 2, 2022, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) announced its collaboration with Mart Expo, a network of artists from around the world, to give Malaysian art tourism a boost, including the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Essentially, the collaboration will see FMT working together with Mart Expo to provide artists with opportunities to showcase their artwork, such as paintings and calligraphy, both online and offline. The works of 100 artists, half of them Malaysian, will be selected for exhibition.
Founder of Mart Expo Globe Sdn Bhd, Mohsen Golshiri, said that he had been helping and supporting artists globally and had received thousands of requests from artists on Mart Expo's Instagram page.
"Artists have a significant role in our society and that's why we always measure the success of a civilisation by how well they treat its artists. At Mart Expo, we identify and promote selected artists of diverse cultural backgrounds. We make art accessible to everyone by having thousands of artists on our platforms with various types of artworks and prices," he said.
Apart from that, the FMT Accelerator programme, which seeks to invest in startups and artists in the region with potential, will see artists' works minted into NFTs and made available on the global digital market.
Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, said that the government was keen to see how new technologies like NFTs could be leveraged as an alternative platform for artists.
"The pandemic has left them without an audience or platform to continue their work. We welcome initiatives to promote tourism using art so that we can monetise art in a bigger and better way, even to the extent of promoting art globally as an export market.
"I believe the collaboration can bring foreign art buyers into Malaysia and showcase our artists and their works in the international arena," she said.
She added that the collaboration would complement the government's efforts to help artists, including its Buy Art Malaysia Programme.
Held in conjunction with the ministry's Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia goals, the programme helped 33 art gallery operators in their efforts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government is also providing matching grants for the tourism, arts and culture sector amounting to RM50 million.
FMT managing director Azeem Abu Bakar said he was excited to announce the collaboration with Mart Expo.
"We are cognisant of the fact that many tech-related markets are currently experiencing some volatility, we firmly believe that the underlying technology and fundamentals of NFTs will continue to offer a net positive impact to artists worldwide," he said.
*This article was originally published on New Straits Times, 03/06/2022.