One of the first – if not the first – Palestinian-born artists to delve into the world of digital art and NFTs, painter Hanny Al Khoury deploys his boundless drive towards an ambitious goal: setting new records on the crypto-art auction stage while opening global art lovers’ eyes to the urgency of the Palestinian people’s cause, their acute struggle and pain, through his artwork. His most recent series to hit the NFT world is La La Land, a collection of paintings that proposed and imagine a space for Palestinian tradition, joy, and optimism to thrive in the face of oppression. This series of paintings has populated his original NFT collection ‘Wopa Land’ on OpenSea, a popular NFT trading platform. His latest drop in Wopa Land, Window to Palestine, La La Land #10, was offered at auction on October 27th with an initial bid of 2 ETH (around 8,600 US dollars), rising to 2.205 ETH with four bids in just three days, and projected to increase quickly as collectors’ interest soars.
After studying in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Al Khoury, who was born to a Palestinian Christian family, opted to base himself in Canada just four years ago. His career quickly took off, with exhibitions around the world – notably in Bethlehem, Abu Dhabi, and Edmonton, and soon in Paris, with the renowned international Mark Hachem Gallery. Yet Al Khoury also has his eyes set on the field of NFTs, aiming to break new records, and, in the process, raise awareness to the current situation in his homeland.
Creating, or ‘minting’ NFTs, in digital art parlance, is indeed where art might be headed – the acronym, short for ’non-fungible token’, has been the art world buzzword of the past few years. These crypto-assets, representing an image, sound, or video in the form of digital files stored as units of data on a blockchain, are unique and non-interchangeable: this makes owning an NFT equivalent to owning an original physical artwork. NFTs can be acquired by anyone owning cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum, on peer-to-peer platforms such as OpenSea or Rarible.
Al Khoury started ‘dropping’ NFTs last August on Opensea under the nickname of ‘Nonofit’, making available to the world digital versions of his latest paintings. If he initially became known for emotionally charged Surrealist artwork evocative of his own journey of trauma as a young Palestinian, with his NFT collection, Wopa Land, Al Khoury turned to painting curvy abstract shapes, reminiscent of musical instruments, in dialogue with one another over backgrounds of muted colors. Wopa Land, composed of paintings from the series La La Land, is “a collection made of effects, visual kinetic shapes and colors, and metaphors descending from the land of Canaan,” Al Khoury explains. The series indeed constitutes a window into an imaginary place, an antithesis to, as Al Khoury describes it, the daily prison where Palestinian people dwell in pain and misery, which takes viewers, he hopes, “far away to a Palestine liberated from occupation.”
While the NFT world knows no borders and no nationalities, Al Khoury seeks to leverage the global exposure it affords to appeal to the humanist values of his thousands of followers and the worldwide community of collectors. He has his eyes set on breaking records, by becoming the leading Palestinian artist in the world of NFTs and leveraging his online presence to give a voice to his voiceless fellow Palestinians. Judging by the success of his recent ventures, Al Khoury is already well on the way there: his first ‘drop’ of two NFTs sold out under two hours, with each work going for 1 ETH each (equivalent to around 4,000 US dollars). This was followed by another sold-out drop of seven NFTs, last month, one of which reached 1.5 ETH. Emboldened by this success, Al Khoury hopes Window to Palestine, La La Land #10, will make an even bigger splash before the auction closes on November 11th.
For more information about Hanny Al Khoury’s groundbreaking work in NFTs and his ongoing projects, visit: