Artist and musician M.I.A. has announced an NFT auction set for this Thursday, April 8, as part of her NFT Garage Dance series. The auction will take place on Foundation.
“GIFTY 1” is the first of several pieces for the series, marking the first time in 25 years that the musician will be exhibiting her art. In a statement released with the auction’s announcement, M.I.A says, “It’s only now that the appropriate gallery for my work finally exists.”
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are part of the cryptocurrency craze sweeping the world. Utilizing the Ethereum blockchain, NFTs are unique and can range from music to digital art, existing either as a single piece of work or multiple, much like trading cards or numbered vinyl records. By buying an NFT, you own the work (although artists can still have ownership of the copyright). It also allows artists to receive royalties every time the NFT is sold or traded.
M.I.A is part of a growing number of musicians cashing in on the phenomenon. Grimes made headlines for selling out of NFTs in 20 minutes and making $5.8 million. Aphex Twin has sold art through NFTs, while Ja Rule auctioned off a Fyre Festival painting. MF Doom’s estate even got in on the trend, collaborating with artists to create digital versions of his iconic mask with proceeds going to his family. The space has proven profitable for artists, with graphic designer Mike Winkelmann selling a JPG file for $69.3 million through Christie’s auction house. Gorillaz also announced NFTs for their self-titled debut’s 20th anniversary.
M.I.A has not released an album since 2016’s AIM. Recently, she starred in a documentary film, 2018’s Matangi / Maya / M.I.A, and launched a Patreon to fund new music in 2020. She also contributed a feature to Travis Scott’s “Franchise” in late 2020.
The auction for “GIFTY 1” goes live on Thursday, April 8, at 4 p.m. EST.