TheUpsideSpace is bringing South Asian art to the metaverse with a perfect fusion of tech with tradition

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This platform’s mission is to refresh and modernise vital components of the art world, using Web3 technology to make artistic expressions accessible to a global audience

TheUpsideSpace – a curator-led NFT marketplace spotlighting art and artists from Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East – officially launched on 8th December 2022. Set to reimagine a fair, accessible and engaging art ecosystem in the digital space, TheUpsideSpace seeks to pioneer new and impactful digital curatorial experiences, champion artist representation, and demystify the buying process for collectors.

TheUpsideSpace was conceptualized by Lisa Ray and Ayesha Khan. Ray, internationally recognised for her multifaceted career in the entertainment industry, has long nurtured a passion for the contemporary arts; aged 16, she spent her first pay cheque on a work of art and has been growing her collection ever since. Meanwhile, Khan is an art collector, philanthropist and accredited antique appraiser. The pair first met in 2020 and immediately bonded over the desire to elevate the profiles of artists from their own homelands, as well as other regions overlooked in the global art conversation

“From canvas to pixels, artists have always embraced innovation to allow their practice to evolve. We see NFTs and blockchain as the tools to deliver breakthrough impact for artistic expression. We also recognise the vital role of community engagement and education. TheUpsideSpace welcomes crypto natives and newbies alike. The world is changing, the form is changing but we place creativity at the wheel. For this reason and more, we see nothing but an Upside.” said Lisa Ray, Co-Founder of TheUpsideSpace.

Curator-led storytelling in the digital realm

With a steadfast belief in the power of storytelling through art, TheUpsideSpace partners with a portfolio of diverse Curators. These Curators reflect unique cultural insights and perspectives through their exhibitions, fostering NFT art appreciation for both art lovers of every ilk – aficionados and novices alike – whilst ensuring that the soul and purpose of the art are bolstered, and not lost, by the power of cutting-edge technology.

The Curator lends their expertise to simplify and declutter the NFT art space and present artworks in context, while the medium of NFTs offers solutions to enduring problems in the traditional art systems like royalties, provenance and authenticity. TheUpsideSpace simplifies the buying process by ensuring a frictionless and accessible tech experience. Buyers can connect their existing wallets to the platform, and payment through numerous cryptocurrencies is accepted. For the more traditional collectors, fiat payments through debit and credit card payments are also accepted.

“Conventional art systems can be opaque, elitist and difficult to navigate, and are long overdue a major shift. At TheUpsideSpace, we believe that removing geographical and physical boundaries for art can evoke high points of human creativity,” said Ayesha Khan, Co-Founder of TheUpsideSpace.

Creating a creative ecosystem of mutual support

For each exhibition, Curators will work with traditional visual artists looking to break into the world of NFT art as well as artists who are already creating NFT art with digital tools. Once an artist has been selected for an exhibition, they will have the opportunity to tap into the knowledge and support of TheUpsideSpace team to assist with conceptualizing their pieces as NFTs and entering the Web3 space to propel their work into the global realm, reaching new audiences from around the world.

This process lowers the barrier to entry for artists who are not au fait with the space, as they will be carefully mentored and guided through the ecosystem.

Bringing the best of South Asian art to the metaverse

Committed to diversity and democracy within the platform and ensuring fresh perspectives, TheUpsideSpace works with Curators from a variety of backgrounds, including traditional Curators, Gallerists, and Guest Curators from sister industries including music, fashion, art and media.

Highlights from the opening lineup of Curators include Kelly Dorji of Bhutan; Myna Mukherjee of India; Morrow Collective of UAE; Omar Nabi of Pakistan; Bandana Tewari, who is based out of Bali; and TO NEW ENTITIES of Singapore.

The opening exhibitions span 8 curatorial themes, with over 80 artists exploring ideas such as home and belonging, beauty and perception, and the playful divine through works from established artists and emerging talent.

Among the talents tapping into TheUpsideSpace’s educational offering is prominent artist, Ranbir Singh Kaleka, who will create and mint his first NFT with TheUpsideSpace. His work is in several important collections, including the Singapore Museum; Asia Society New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Also showcasing work is renowned Iraqi-origin artist, Halim Al Karim, one of six artists whose work was featured in the Iraqi Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale – the first Iraqi Pavilion in 36 years. His work is in the collections of major museums including the Saatchi Collection in London, L’institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the Arab Museum of Contemporary Art in Doha.

TheUpsideSpace is pleased to have Aaron Cezar – founding Director of the Delfina Foundation and jury member for the Turner Prize, 2021 – on its advisory board. TheUpsideSpace is also collaborating with eDao, a Media and Entertainment DAO.

The Brilliant Resilient

A prelude to the official launch, TheUpsideSpace recently held a phygital exhibition – The Brilliant Resilient: Sri Lanka’s First Curated NFT Digital Art Exhibition. Co-hosted with the Canadian High Commissioner, David McKinnon, the event made waves in the Sri Lankan arts and collectors community, championing the country’s creative community during a period of intense crisis.

Find out more at https://www.theupsidespace.com/home

About Post Author

Surabhi Pandey

A journalist by training, Surabhi is a writer and content consultant currently based in Singapore. She has over seven years of experience in journalistic and business writing, qualitative research, proofreading, copyediting and SEO. Working in different capacities as a freelancer, she produces both print and digital content and leads campaigns for a wide range of brands and organisations – covering topics ranging from technology to education and travel to lifestyle with a keen focus on the APAC region.
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