Two Sabahan artists contribute digital works to 'Time' magazine's NFT series

  • Arts
  • Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

Red Hong Yi (right) and Kenji Chai are the Malaysian artists selected for 'Time' magazine's NFT series. Their works will also be exhibited in New York in November and included in a book. Photo: Handout

How do you build a better future during a global pandemic?

Contemporary artist Red Hong Yi (known as Red) and graffiti artist Kenji Chai show us how in their Time magazine commissioned non-fungible token (NFT) animated artworks.

These Sabah-born artists are part of Time’s new NFT community initiative called TIMEPieces, featuring original works by 40 international artists.

Titled Building A Better Future, the genesis collection, which dropped today, includes limited editions created from 37 unique artworks, with a total of 4,676 NFTs.

Time contacted me in August to ask if I wanted to create an NFT artwork for their new launch of TIMEPieces. So, of course I said yes! It’s a huge honour to be a part of this,” says Red.

This is the multidisciplinary artist’s second project with Time magazine. In April, she created an image that was part sculpture, part performance art in Kuala Lumpur, which was featured on the cover of the "Climate Change" issue of Time magazine on April 26. She constructed a 2.3m x 3m world map out of 50,000 green-tipped matchsticks with her team, and then torched it.

“What’s really special about this NFT initiative is that Time chose 20 artists, some of whom have done the covers before, and they let us choose an artist of our choice. I chose Kenji Chai because I love his work, as simple as that. He’s also inspired me as an artist to not care too much about what other people think and to stick to my own beliefs and will,” says Red.

Chai, born in Sandakan, is a street artist known for his vibrant and bold graffiti and murals that blend humour and mischief.

“Hong Yi invited me to join this TIMEPieces NFT. At first I thought it was like selling a JPEG that we can copy paste from Google and save as our wallpaper. But when I understood it, it’s more than that,” admits Chai.

For her TIMEPieces crypto art piece titled Little Red Decides Her Better Future, the KL-based Red worked with her team for more than a month from ideation to completion.

The animated artwork, reminiscent of traditional 1980s platform games, features a little pixelated Bornean girl with a pixelated mountain in the background (Mount Kinabalu) who looks excitedly into the future as she is given the option to begin her adventure with either fiat money or crypto currency.

"This NFT represents my aspiration and hope for a future where little girls are empowered to choose their adventures and determine their own choices - a world that celebrates nature, technology, art and the human race (little icons within the banknote representing these four elements through icons of a rocket, a cat, a kite and a human). This piece is also a special tribute to little girls from Borneo and South-East Asia," says Red.

Hidden in the banknote are easter eggs such as morse codes, a very pixelated “decentralised” text, and even smaller pixelated icons.

Kenji Chai's 'Welcome to Chaigo Land' features his famous alter-ego, Chaigo the blue dog. Photo: HandoutKenji Chai's 'Welcome to Chaigo Land' features his famous alter-ego, Chaigo the blue dog. Photo: Handout

Kenji’s Welcome to Chaigo Land artwork, on the other hand, features the artist’s signature alter-ego Chaigo the blue dog in the middle of an overgrown city. The dog graffiti had its debut at near the Zhongshan arts space building, Kampung Attap in Kuala Lumpur.

“This artwork reflects the hope I have for a post-pandemic world. While humans have had to retreat indoors and lives have been lost, wildlife has roamed more freely and nature has been given a reset button.

“It is my hope that this experience will lead us to reflect and care about nature more,” offers Chai.

Each TIMEPieces work will be priced at 0.1 ETH, which is currently valued at RM1,303.86.

Owners of TIMEPieces will receive unlimited access to through Time’s 100th anniversary in 2023, exclusive invites to some of the media company's physical events and access to a variety of exclusive digital experiences.

This collection will also be turned into a hardcover book available this holiday season and will also be on display at Dreamverse, the world’s first NFT Art and Music Festival, in New York on Nov 4.

The other participating TIMEPieces artists are Addie Wagenkenct, Allison Dayka, Baeige, Bisa Butler, Cath Simard, Charly Palmer, Destiny Kirumira, Diana Sinclair, Drue Kataoka, Dylan Urquidi, Ed Gabel & Ian Brown, Edel Rodriguez, Emonee LaRussa, FVCKRENDER, Houda Bakkali, Isabel & Marcos Samaras, J.N. Silva, John Knopf, John Mavroudis, Julie Pacino, Justin Aversano & Nicole Buffett, Kendall Chambers, Lethabo Huma, Marc Burckhardt, Mari Katamaya, Micah Johnson, Olive Allen, Oscar Mar, Parin Haderi, WhereIDraw, Sarah Kanu, Shana Wilson, Steve Warner, Tim O’Brien, Tyler Gordan, Victor Mosquera, Viktoria Modesta and Yvette Hammond.

An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos.

More info here.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Red Hong Yi , NFT , Kenji Chai , Time , Magazine , Art , Timepieces , Digital art


Next In Culture

V&A celebrates 'Korean Wave' of popular culture with new exhibition
There is no collecting art without social media anymore, says art influencer
'Nosferatu 100': vampire exhibit welcomes your blood donation
British author of 'Wolf Hall' saga Hilary Mantel dies at 70
Malaysian artist couple's young child inspires their climate action exhibit
Q&A: poet Amanda Gorman talks UN poem, fame, future presidency
Theatre project aims to ease isolation of Japan's social recluses
Weekend for the arts: photography portraits, a world of printmaking
Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum crawling with 700 giant ants
Listen up! Spotify launches audiobook store with some 300,000 titles

Others Also Read