Inspiration can happen anywhere and anytime. For artist and Indigenous business community leader Tamara Goddard, it arrived over morning coffee as she was reflecting on her organization, Four Our Future.
“Four Our Future was struggling with project and funding delays, and many Indigenous businesses and community clients were experiencing similar challenges,” Goddard told Daily Hive. “Suddenly, I had a daydream as if a little voice whispered, ‘It’s all about the art.’ Imagine if art could pay the way for Indigenous economic success, green technology, training?”
That daydream is becoming a reality with 400 Drums, an NFT collection created by Goddard of Saulteau First Nation, David Fierro of the Westbank First Nation, and Rian Bevan of the Rainbow Tribe, along with a team of developers.
“The team immediately saw the vision and got to work with the first yes coming from David Fierro. He answered my call to build and paint a whopping 400 Drums in less than 12 months,” shared Goddard. “Rian Bevan, our Innovation Manager, was the next ‘hell yes,’ with the digital youth team right behind. From there, a whole new team seemed to blossom out of nowhere, with Web3 developers appearing as if from the ether to lift this project up.”
The 400 Drums NFTs are derived from one-of-a-kind Indigenous drums handcrafted by Fierro, who has over 20 years of experience creating them. The drums are handpainted in acrylic with paints designed by Goddard, who is a color theorist and visual artist. Goddard then enhances the museum-quality art pieces into digital masterpieces.
“We have been incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from the Web3 community in making this project happen,” Fierro told Daily Hive. “We have over 20 volunteers internationally who believe in this project so much they waved all fees to help us bring this vision to life.
“400 Drums is doing its part to revitalize our culture and support the cultural keepers of the future. I want people to feel that their support matters and that they are part of a movement to restore balance.”
The project’s first launch is an exclusive batch of 444 NFTs titled “The Awakening.” The upcoming Ethereum release is currently being whitelisted and will help the team raise operational funds to continue one of the first big Indigenous NFT projects to fund gap areas for First Nations projects across Canada.
“The 400 Drums NFT collection is an expression of Indigenous art,” said Bevan, founder of Here2Help. “Each subsequent series, we will bring in other Indigenous knowledge keepers and artists to share their cultural expressions into digital spaces. The potential for Indigenous peoples to access much-needed funding through NFTs and blockchain is something we want to demonstrate through this project.”
“Indigenous art is more than just a beautiful object,” Goddard added. “Embedded in the art is thousands of years of craftsmanship, teachings, history and story. 400 Drums is and will always be about connecting the physical world to the digital environment.”
The 400 Drums project is raising funds for several initiatives, including creating training programs and services for Indigenous artists and delivering cultural traditional crafting workshops for Indigenous peoples across the country.
The NFTs will support Four Our Future’s WICD Digital and Media training and employment program for Indigenous Youth and help fund the completion and distribution of Back to the Fire, an Indigenous Leadership Documentary Series by Squamish Nation Hereditary Chief Gibby Jacob.
Funds raised through the project will also help plan and develop an Indigenous Green Tech Campus to showcase food, water, power & housing technologies suitable and obtainable for First Nations communities and local economies.
For Goddard, Web3 technology and NFTs are important to the future of Indigenous communities, artists, and creators.
“The real value of Indigenous art collections is in the legal and oral history and Indigenous teachings embedded,” explained Goddard. “Currently, over 85 percent of Indigenous art sold in the arts and craft outlets in Canada has nothing to do with an Indigenous person.
“We needed to enter the Web3 space to develop ownership of our teachings, arts, data and culture before it is done for us. It’s time we blazed our own trail for economic reconciliation and cultural revitalization.”
To learn more, head to 400drums.com.