Next Canvas – online gallery
Sofia Martin is the founder of The Next Canvas. She spoke to us about how she was inspired to start this online gallery
The Next Canvas is meant to evoke a feeling of an exciting future for art – new talents, new masterpieces. For me, the name embodies progress. That is, progress in discovering and nurturing talents and finding ways of introducing these talents to the world. It describes the booming art market trends in Ethiopia, but it also looks forward to an even grander development.
So today, The Next Canvas works with 20 young and emerging Ethiopian painters. It is introducing their work to the wider global market and enabling them to enjoy international exposure for their art.
I have always been looking for possible ways to use the power of the internet and social media to highlight and promote the vibrant and unique elements of my native Ethiopia – in art, fashion, food, travel. The seed of this yet unformed idea has been lingering in the back of my mind for years. While living in Tokyo, Japan, from 2013 to 2015, I became “newly” aware of the beauty and depth of the Ethiopian paintings that were in my house, hanging on the walls. I saw new meaning and beauty in the artworks – I think because I was then living out of the familiar context of my everyday existence in Ethiopia. It was as if it formed another layer of emotional connection I was not aware of before. It spoke to my homesickness.
Supporting Ethiopian artists
That’s when my husband and I began to play with the idea of starting an online art gallery that encourages and supports emerging Ethiopian artists. The Next Canvas provides them with a platform through which they can bring their unique creations to the world.
As far as I know, The Next Canvas is the first and only on-line art gallery exclusively dedicated to Ethiopian contemporary paintings, owned and managed by an Ethiopian, through which you can actually buy original paintings from any country in the world, and have it shipped to you. In that way, I believe, we have opened up a new market to Ethiopian emerging artists. Now their art can be enjoyed by a wider international market. Buying Ethiopian art supports Ethiopian artists directly, also, allowing them to continue with their creative process. I believe we have made Ethiopian contemporary art accessible to people who love art and who want a positive experience buying art.
Read more about The Next Canvas in the art issue of ReAfrica magazine