Picture three people in a gallery: A painter, a hotel manager, and a young urban professional. They don’t know it yet, but each person here is facing a difficulty that unites them. For the artist, the COVID-19 pandemic has added more difficulty to making a steady income; the manager is looking for a simpler way to manage the art procured for his hotel; and the urban professional is looking for ways to own art. There is one solution for all three of them and that is Sanaa Space.
Sanaa Space is an online venture that seeks to ease access to art – for all. That is, through a monthly subscription service, users have the option to select original art by talented local artists, and enjoy the flexibility to buy, swap or return it later. This revolutionary platform, founded by ALA alum Mainza Moono ‘08, opens up the doors of the art world to people who have not been able to traverse it as freely before. “With art, the perception is that you have to be rich for you to own art because it’s really expensive. This does not have to be the case”, says Mainza.
For business owners of hotels and office spaces, everything in between, the value proposition is simple: you’re able to keep your art collection exciting by rotating through artworks at the fraction of the cost of buying them upfront. For the urban professional who doesn’t have hundreds of dollars or more to purchase artwork, now has the option to acquire that art through a monthly fee that they can afford, with the added option of switching the art they chose after three months.
Most importantly, though, this democratization of art ownership, benefits the people who need it most: artists. Mainza elaborates,“The African artist loses when art is only going to be accessible for rich people, so the other part of democratization is economically empowering artists. In fact, the reason we require customers to subscribe to art for a minimum of three months is to tackle the problem of stability of income for artists. When I approach artists I tell them all the time that I’m not merely trying to get them more likes or followers on Instagram, I’m in the business of trying to make them stable money by getting someone to subscribe to their work.”
Sanaa Space, which now has hundreds of works of art for you to choose from, is even more of a remarkable feat when you know that Mainza is an investment professional who simply sought to solve a problem he was having (which is accessing art at affordable prices), when he suddenly had more free time on his hands when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Even more exceptional is Mainza’s ability and fearlessness to provide a solution in a field he initially did not know much about. He says, “It’s not intimidating for me to build a solution for a space I initially knew nothing about – and that’s what the investment professional skill set teaches you; to not be intimidated to go out there and learn.”
So, where to from here? Sanaa Space, which is currently serving the Kenyan art market, has big plans to expand to South Africa in the next year. The ultimate goal for the platform is to allow people to rent larger items, such as furniture – especially suited for the young flexible millennial – which, we’re certain many can agree, could be another much needed service.
To view the Sanaa Space virtual collection and begin your art journey, visit: https://sanaaspace.co/
If you’d like to get involved in building the incredible work Mainza has started, on a volunteer basis, email: email@example.com
Finally, to read more about Mainza’s background, visit his LinkedIn profile here.