A few years ago, the Nigerian new media space was saturated with new entrants looking to break into the market. The market in 2016 seemed primed for scalability. The internet had broken down the geographical barriers that kept African content creators from chasing that all important Afro diaspora dollar and covering music from across the continent. Now the feedback was expansive and in real time. Many of the new media platforms that sprung up at that time (OMG Media, Party Jollof, Zikoko, Lists.NG) have all either restructured to meet present realities or folded under the pressure of sustainable profitability. Many of the content creators who cut their teeth in new media under that wave are finally starting their own platforms, mindful of the challenges that lie ahead. Toye Sokunbi’s Artish is one of these second wave new media platforms.
ARTISH is a cross-platform celebration of popular culture, from simple brushstrokes to brand masterpieces.
Much of today’s rapidly evolving internet culture, was popularised by a generation of Tumblr poets, Instagram visual-artists, and Vine-famous comedians. In 2014, the idea for ARTISH was first conceived as a digital archive for such creators of all mediums to showcase their work.
This is how the platform describes itself. And Sokunbi has the pedigree to make these kinds of sweeping statements. He single handedly built the Sounds.NG platform in 2016, into one of the biggest arbiters of Nigerian music, a style of analysis and criticism that he refined during his time as managing editor of youth counter culture platform Native Mag, midwifing three critically acclaimed print issues, including a groundbreaking profile of Davido that got him on international best culture writing lists in 2018.
With bylines on Dazed and Fader, Sokunbi intends to invert some of the global acclaim he has earned into building a local platform to house the next iteration of new media expression in the country. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.