Main Menu

Collect Digital Artworks

Series One: The Mba Assembly

This series features generative portraits of people and animals encountered in Toledo, collaged into compositions. These are arranged by Osinachi, utilizing TMA’s event photo archives and his signature patterns.

Collect Mba Assembly Artwork

Series Two: Orpheo’s Symphony

The series incorporates images and patterns from museum archives, photographs from Ghana, and from Toledo’s local community. Yusuf Lateef’s generative series connects the past and the present, the local and the global.

Collect Orpheo's Symphony Artwork

Series Three: The Picklers

This manually crafted series captures the fascinating sport of pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America. Osinachi, visiting Toledo from Nigeria, found the sport to be a magical and colorful symbol of American social dynamics.

Coming in March

Sankofa Carnival

By TMA Labs

Sankofa Carnival 

The Toledo Museum of Art introduces an innovative fusion of art, technology, and cultural heritage. This event showcases the digital artistry of Osinachi and Yusuf Lateef, combining traditional African cultural elements with cutting-edge digital techniques. The Sankofa Carnival reinterprets the traditional western concept of Carnival, integrating African cultural influences and historical perspectives. Drawing inspiration from Jacob Lawrence, the Mbari Club, and the iconic film "Black Orpheus," the Carnival bridges African and Western artistic traditions in a digital yet deeply human context.

Community, Local and Global

This project seeks to encourage conversation on how the modern art museum can support digital artwork and expand its community. Sankofa Carnival reprises decades-old conversations about African artistic influence in contemporary ways and also serves to connect our regional audience here in northwest Ohio to the digital work that represents a key part of future artistic practice.

About

An Homage to Legacy

The inaugural digital artist residency takes inspiration from revered cultural legacies, pairing local Toledo artist Yusuf Lateef with Osinachi, a luminary in the digital art scene. This pairing emerged in response to the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibition Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, a show that celebrated the coalition of artists in Nigeria in the 1960s that revolutionized the art world and fostered trans-Atlantic dialogues on culture and identity.

Reverberations through Culture

Tapping into the electrifying undercurrent of culture rooted in the African diaspora, Osinachi and Lateef’s collaboration leverages 21st century technology to bring their work to the world in new ways. They bridge cultural, technical, and physical barriers, creating authentic digital and physical expressions that represent both themselves and the Toledo community. In the same way that the confluence of the film Black Orpheus, the artist Jacob Lawrence, and the Mbari Club transformed the global collective conscience, the Sankofa Carnival and the community forming around it in are poised to do the same.

Christie’s 3.0 Online Auction

1 of 1 Yusuf Lateef

Eurydice

Eurydice is the emotional crescendo of our journey. Lateef's 1/1 digital art piece represents the loss of humanity and love. A young girl stares back from behind a protest sign. Her gaze peels away the layers of time, capturing a moment where our words fail. Inspired by black-and-white 1960’s protest images, Lateef’s 1/1 references ideas of antiquity and the modern-day struggles for human rights' fleeting nature.

Eurydice was sold via Christie's 3.0 online auction platform as part of The Next Wave: Miami Edit during Miami Art Week in December 2023.

1 of 1 Osinachi

ABITT: THE SECOND RENAISSANCE IS COMING

Marking the dawn of a new era, Osinachi’s 1/1 digital art piece encapsulates the spirit of renewal and the promise of a second renaissance. This piece is a clarion call to embrace new beginnings through a deep understanding of culture and history.

ABBIT: THE SECOND RENAISSANCE IS COMING was sold via Christie's 3.0 online auction platform as part of The Next Wave: Miami Edit during Miami Art Week in December 2023.

Participation Guide

Step 1: Start Your Experience

Visit the Sankofa Carnival installation in Libbey Court at the Toledo Museum of Art or online.

Step 2: Get Connected

Scan the QR Code at our Libbey Court station or download online.

Step 3: Secure Your Digital Art

Follow the simple sign up process to claim a digital art piece from The Mba Assembly collection. Do this by March 17, 2024.

Step 4: Orpheo’s Symphony Awaits

Once you’ve collected Series One, return to the Museum beginning February 1, 2024 or visit us online for a chance to claim one of 1,000 pieces from Orpheo’s Symphony.

Step 6: The Final Collection

Beginning on March 1, 2024 participants who have collected Series One and Series Two Visit you might be among the lucky 100 to own a piece from our final collection, The Picklers.

Step 7: The Rules of the Game

To stay in the game, you'll need to collect from each prior series. One unlocks the next.

Step 8: How to Revisit Your Artworks

Go to withpaper.com 

Once the homepage loads, click the "My Wallet" button in the screen's top right corner. 

A new page will appear asking for the email address associated with your Shiseido wallet. 

Click the "Continue" button once you successfully input the email you used to download your digital art. 

Next, enter the login code that was sent to your email for verification purposes. 

The wallet dashboard will appear showing your new artwork and any other items in your wallet. 

Click on your artwork for blockchain details, to transfer the item, or view on OpenSea.

FAQs

What is Sankofa Carnival?

The Sankofa Carnival melds art, technology, and community to illuminate the vastness of African contributions to global culture. This virtual carnival aspires to reinterpret the concept of Carnival through an African prism, encompassing both the African diaspora and universal human experiences.

What does “Sankofa” mean?

Sankofa is a word from the Twi Language of the Akan tribe in Ghana that means "to retrieve". This singular word has come to embody the idea of learning from the past to build a better future. Its literal translation comes from the Akan proverb, "Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenkyiri," meaning, "It is not taboo to go back for what you forgot (or left behind).”

Why the name Sankofa Carnival?

While deeply rooted in African culture, the Carnival seeks to stir the collective human soul. It serves as an emblematic vehicle for societal reflection, urging us to consider what lessons we can learn—and unlearn—in our perpetual journey from the roots to the stars. With AI, climate change, space exploration, and more all poised to dramatically transform humanity over the next century; now feels like a poignant time for reflection and intentional reinvention.

How can I stay updated?

Follow us on social media, and keep an eye on the hashtag #SankofaCarnival for the latest updates.

Who is Jacob Lawrence, and how has he influenced Sankofa Carnival?

Jacob Lawrence was an American painter known for his "Migration Series," which depicted the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North. His work often focused on the struggles and triumphs of African American life, as well as broader themes of social justice. Lawrence's influence on the Sankofa Carnival is profound. His ability to weave narrative and social critique into visual art serves as a guiding ethos for the project. The Carnival seeks to reclaim and celebrate African contributions to global culture, much like Lawrence did through his art.

What is the Mbari Club and how has it influenced the project?

The Mbari Club was an arts and cultural center founded in Nigeria in the 1960s. It was a hub for African and African-American artists, writers, and musicians, including Jacob Lawrence. The club's ethos of cultural exchange and artistic freedom is a cornerstone of the Sankofa Carnival.

Who are Osinachi and Yusuf, and how are they connected?

Osinachi and Lateef are contemporary artists whose work echoes the visual language and thematic depth of Jacob Lawrence. Their pairing in this project is inspired by Lawrence's interaction with the Mbari Club.

How does the film Black Orpheus fit into this tapestry?

The film, like the Mbari Club, was a groundbreaking platform for African-diasporic culture. Its influence extends to the Mbari Club's publication, Black Orpheus, which along with the film, has had a lasting impact on both American and African culture. The themes and aesthetic of that film also heavily influenced the conception of Sankofa Carnival.

What is Afrofuturism?

Afrofuturism is a cultural, artistic, and intellectual movement that combines elements of science fiction, history, and fantasy to reimagine the past, present, and future experiences of the African diaspora. It explores themes of African culture, technology, and liberation, offering alternative narratives that challenge traditional perspectives.

Why is Afrofuturism important to the Sankofa Carnival?

Afrofuturism serves as a conceptual framework for the Sankofa Carnival, allowing us to explore and celebrate the African diaspora's contributions to global culture in an imaginative and empowering way. It aligns with our mission to reclaim, redefine, and celebrate African heritage while envisioning a future where African and Black communities are at the forefront of cultural and technological innovation.

What is generative digital art?

Generative digital art refers to artwork that is created using algorithms and computational processes. Unlike traditional art, where the artist manually crafts each element, generative art employs code to set certain rules and parameters. The computer then executes these rules to produce unique, often unpredictable, pieces of art. It's a form of collaboration between the artist and the machine, where the artist defines the "DNA" of the artwork, and the computer brings it to life in myriad forms. This allows for a dynamic range of expressions, making each piece not just a static image but a snapshot of a larger, series of pictures within a process.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions across multiple computers. This ensures both transparency and security, making it a robust platform for various applications, including the arts.

What are NFTs?

NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, are unique digital assets verified using blockchain technology. Unlike cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, each NFT is distinct and can represent ownership of a specific item or piece of content.

How does Sankofa carnival use blockchain and NFTs?

TMA Labs is utilizing blockchain technology to create a lasting digital legacy that is both secure and verifiable. This technology allows for the creation of unique digital assets, in this case, NFTs, that represent the community's artistic contributions.

How do blockchain and NFTs and power artists in the Sankofa Carnival?

Blockchain serves as a decentralized platform that empowers Black and African creators. Artists gain control over the ownership, distribution, and monetization of their art. This technology aligns seamlessly with the Carnival's mission to reclaim and celebrate African contributions to global culture.

What is the broader impact of using this technology in the Sankofa Carnival?

The use of blockchain and NFTs extends beyond mere technological novelty; it democratizes art. Every contribution from the community is etched into a digital ledger, creating a lasting and verifiable legacy.

Why is the use of blockchain particularly relevant to the Sankofa Carnival’s Afrofuturistic vision?

The technology serves as a backbone for the project's Afrofuturistic ethos, which employs science fiction and fantasy to reimagine the African diaspora's history and future. The adoption of blockchain in African nations for various empowering activities amplifies this vision, making the technology a fitting and strategic choice for the Carnival.

How do I revisit the digital artwork I collected?

Go to withpaper.com 

Once the homepage loads, click the "My Wallet" button in the screen's top right corner. 

A new page will appear asking for the email address associated with your Shiseido wallet. 

Click the "Continue" button once you successfully input the email you used to download your digital art. 

Next, enter the login code that was sent to your email for verification purposes. 

The wallet dashboard will appear showing your new artwork and any other items in your wallet. 

Click on your artwork for blockchain details, to transfer the item, or view on OpenSea.

Membership

Become a TMA member today

Support TMA

Help support the TMA mission