Launched at the beginning of April at a live online event, ARTSPLIT, a new art trading technology platform, is set to expand the possibilities of art ownership in the African art world. Its first ‘Lease Auction’, which took place two weeks after the platform launched, from Monday, April 18 to Friday, April 22, sets optimistic records of $1,185.19 and $1,128.75 for two artworks by Ivorian artist Aboudia and the late South African artist Irma Stern. The works will be on a lease to the new owners for six months. Acclaimed as a first of its kind auction on the continent, it was well-received by a diverse community of art collectors.
Downloading the ARTSPLIT app presents users with multiple innovative opportunities, such as owning fractions, also known as ‘Splits’, of significant artworks by African artists, which they can keep or trade within the app if they win in the ‘Split Auction’. These Splits enable multiple individuals to co-own a single iconic piece of art, which is not a common feature of art market platforms. ARTSPLIT also allows users to participate in a ‘Lease Auction’ on the app to win and have physical custody of these split artworks for a set period.
The two artworks sold at the debut auction are Untitled (2014) by Abdoulaye ‘Aboudia’ Diarrassouba, an Ivorian contemporary artist, and A Still Life of Fruit with A Spanish City Beyond (1962) by the late prominent South African artist Irma Stern. Aboudia chronicles the street scene in his city of Abidjan in his vibrant, large-scale mixed-media paintings and drawings, inspired by the aesthetics of graffiti and traditional African carvings. For Irma Stern, Africa was her ‘Paradise’, and this inspired her artistic creativity and subjects. Both works enjoyed a flurry of late bids by enthusiastic users looking to outbid each other, ensuring an exciting end to a competitive auction. The winners will have the works delivered to them for the set duration of the lease.
The success of the first lease auction demonstrates the importance of democratising ownership of prestigious African artworks, with ARTSPLIT granting this access to a global community of art lovers. Another significance of the success of the auctions is the impressive acceptance and adoption ARTSPLIT has garnered from the art community across regions and nationalities, further driving the integration of African art into the global art landscape.
Hannatu Ageni-Yusuf, ARTSPLIT’s Global Head of Marketing and Communications, stated, “We are currently gathering feedback from our early users to improve the app’s offerings. Collectors have so far been captivated by the catalogue feature, which allows major collectors to create a digital catalogue of their collection with a planned AI feature that will provide an indicative valuation of these works based on trade data.”
ARTSPLIT has guaranteed the availability of even more exciting artworks for split and lease on the platform. The auctions will always be available and will take place in real-time on the app, which is available for download on the Android Play Store or iOS app store. Trading starts with as little as $10, and a user can build up from this point to become a co-owner or individually own artworks from the auction.
The new platform, a startup backed by Nonso Okpala and VFD Group Plc, is driven by one common goal: Raising African Art’s global profile by building a diverse community of African art collectors and investors. They are on a mission to introduce art as a currency and make it more accessible to invest, trade and collect African art. Interested art enthusiasts and collectors can download the app here.