Art and Finance Conference: the EDB and ZeeArts lay the foundations for a new industry

24 Jun 2022

Art and Finance Conference: the EDB and ZeeArts lay the foundations for a new industry


"Art is an investment opportunity to diversify one's heritage". This statement from Ken Poonoosamy, CEO of the Economic Development Board, in his introductory address, sets the tone for the Art and Finance conference organized this Wednesday, 22nd of June, as part of the second edition of the Mauritius International Art Fair (MIAF). The event, held at Le Méridien hotel, brought together artists, financial and legal professionals, who came to enrich themselves with innovative ideas aimed at shaping the approach to investing in Art.


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“It is a great privilege to be here today for the 2nd edition of the Mauritius International Art Fair. This year we received positive responses from many local, regional and international artists from more than 30 countries. At EDB, we are convinced that the art market as a segment of the creative economy can bring significant income to the country. Art is an investment opportunity to diversify one's heritage, is able to stimulate investment, create jobs and generate income. Studies have shown that the art market represents 3% of the world's GDP estimated at 84 trillion dollars. It is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy, generating almost 30 million jobs worldwide. It is estimated to grow by 40% by 2030. Deloitte's 'Art and Finance 2021' report estimates the art market at around $1.7 trillion in 2019 and claims it could reach $2.1 trillion dollars in 2023,” said Ken Poonoosamy.

He further emphasized: “As high net worth individuals grow and the art market matures, there is huge demand for financial innovation – opportunities for art and artists. The trend towards art and collectibles is creating new demand for financial services, including NFTs. More and more people consider the art market as a traditional investment asset. Our initiative today comes at the right time. »

For Zaahirah Muthy, organizer of MIAF 2022 and founder of ZeeArts, “The MIAF aims to defend and educate local, regional, international and diaspora artists. It also serves to network and engage in artistic dialogue and cultural exchange. Zee Arts will also launch its own NFT platform for women artists around the world - the digital movement 'Arts Connect' will provide a digital space for women artists to showcase their work on the digital platform. The conference today is part of the EDB's vision to raise awareness and improve knowledge on art investment, risk management and the digital art revolution with NFTs”

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She added: “I strongly believe that art is a catalyst for social change, it is a universal language that connects people and today the artistic landscape in Mauritius is very important. Our island has a large pool of talent that can be transformed into a tailor-made system. Mauritius welcomes cultural investors from all over the world, it is a gateway to a successful artistic destination. The country may also be the market leader in art auctions in Africa and the region.»

Adriano Picinati di Torcello, Director of Global Art & Finance Coordinator at Deloitte, Luxembourg, shared his expertise in the field of art and finance. He mentioned that the effort initiated by the EDB and ZeeArts is a big step forward for the Mauritian economy. Benito Elisa, CEO of Wakanda 4.0, spoke about the digital revolution that is shaking the artistic world through NFT, cryptocurrency and the metaverse. As for Karolina Blasiak of Karolina Blasiak Art Advisory, she inspired her audience by flying over the methods of art and heritage management. She recalled the importance of positioning oneself in the new NFT markets without necessarily, being guided by the lure of profit. Finally, Jessica Naga, lawyer and founder of Digital Associates Ltd, challenged the audience with her observations and legal advice, highlighting the risks associated with ignorance of the new digital landscape.

Ben Lim, CEO of Intercontinental Trust Ltd, moderated the discussions during the second part of the conference. This clash of ideas made it possible to establish, with the help of all the experts present, an action plan which will serve as a basic framework for the development of new policies aimed at developing the ideal financial model for the future of art.

Closing speaker, Nanda Narrainen, Head Creative Industries at EDB believes that the partnership between EDB and ZeeArts will give a boost to expand the reach of the creative industry in Mauritius. “The purpose of this conference is to explore new avenues of investment and financing. The conference was a unique opportunity to formulate new business models on how art, finance as well as the business world can combine perfectly to create a better and more diverse economic future. The conference was the cradle of new ideas for the development of a roadmap for the development of an art and finance hub,” said the EDB representative.

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