Looty, a Nigerian company, aims to return digitally stolen African art back to its rightful owners


Reproducing every plundered African artwork in 3D NFT form is Looty’s goal.

Africans may now see all the art they lost during the colonial period thanks to Looty, a Nigerian company specialising in art.

Founder and creative designer Chidi, a 34-year-old Nigerian, said that Looty first locates African art in museums throughout the world, and then utilises specific software and technology to scan and convert it into 3D forms.

Chidi, who declined to use his last name so that attention might be focused on Looty’s work, stated that this technique is more complicated than it seems.

Chidi told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: The artwork is being sculpted in a way that makes it seem like we’re starting from scratch. Finishing a single item might take anything from a few days to many weeks.

On May 13th, the Looty website will go online. However, activities on the project got underway in November of last year. Chidi collaborates with two Nigerians and a Somalian to study and create digital art pieces. In 3D design, NFT technology, or editing, each member of the team has a speciality.

Each member has previously been to museums in the United Kingdom and France to get images of the art. About 25 African art items have been digitally replicated by the crew since the project was launched last year. The Benin Bronzes, which originally adorned the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, now Nigeria, are among them.

When Looty was created, why was the name Looty chosen?

According to Chidi, he got the idea for Looty after hearing a lot about non-fungible tokens. At the same time, there was a widespread belief that European invaders had stolen African artefacts. Because of this, he decided to take action, resulting in the platform’s development.

Chidi stated he named the platform Looty after a dog named Looty that Captain John Hart Dunne gave to Queen Victoria in 1860, despite the name being associated with theft. A royal prince in what is now Peking, the capital of China, was reportedly sacked by the British during the Second Opium War, and Looty was captured. However, he emphasised that Looty, the site, operated in a legitimate and non-violent manner.

At the present, Looty intends to repatriate all African art to encourage African artists and earn funding to assist them to enhance their abilities. The new website will solely accept cryptocurrencies for the purchase of NFT artwork.

As a result of each sale, 20 percent will be donated to the Looty Fund, which strives to help African artists by providing them with grants and gifts in the form of money and equipment.

Chidi has high expectations that European museums would one day return all of Africa’s stolen artwork as a result of his campaigning. He does, however, have aspirations of creating a metaverse out of whatever Looty reclaims.

There has been an uptick in recent months about the incorporation of African art forms onto the web3. To earn money for the Liliesleaf Museum Heritage Site, South Africa transformed Nelson Mandela’s original arrest warrant from 1962 into an NFT in March.

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