Imprint, SWAIA partner to combat counterfeit Native American art with launch of new digital art registry

SANTA FE, N.M. (BUSINESS WIRE) – Imprint, a blockchain-based art security registry, and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts announced a partnership Friday, Aug. 19 to combat fraud in the Native American art market by supplying 800 Native American artists with permanently certified Imprint digital title to their artwork.

The announcement was made at the 100th annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

Imprint provides artists and galleries with permanent digital titles that allow artwork to be officially registered, creating a digital certificate of authenticity stored on a secure blockchain database. When a piece is sold, the Imprint title and certificate transfer to the buyer with transaction information – such as date, location, and valuation – created and stored instantaneously on chain, creating a secure and infinite provenance that can be traced back to the creation of the piece and its initial sale.

“We are honored to work with SWAIA to provide a next-generation solution to tackle an age-old issue of fraud and exploitation committed against Native American culture,” said Ruth-Ann Thorn, co-founder of Imprint.

Thorn is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Exclusive Collections Galleries, a trio of fine art galleries that showcases Native American artists, and a registered tribal member of the Rincon Band of Luiseño / Payómkawichum Indians of Southern California, where she serves as Chair of the Rincon Economic Development Board.

She added, “By giving artists and their representatives a simple, easy-to-use digital tool, we hope to eliminate counterfeit work purporting to be from Native American artists, which will make their authentic work that much more valuable.”

“When Imprint approached us to launch their blockchain-based art security registry with SWAIA artists, we immediately recognized the opportunity as one that will help combat theft and counterfeit within the Native American art world,” said SWAIA Executive Director Kimberly Peone. “We are thrilled to be able to provide cutting-edge solutions to SWAIA artists.”

Global art sales in 2021 accounted for $65.1 billion, per research from investment bank UBS, with online sales more than doubling since 2019. According to the Fine Art Expert Institute, some 50 percent of art currently circulating is likely forged or misattributed. Native American art is estimated to represent roughly $1 billion in sales a year, with an estimated 80 percent of that coming from the sale of counterfeit goods that include a wide range of work, from painting and sculpture to jewelry, ceramics, and textiles.



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