Lyonna Lyu is a self-taught illustrator and iconographer utilizing NFTs as a preservation tool. Lyonna incorporates Eritrean heritage, narratives, and history while reimagining an ancient artistic styles. Some pieces are political and social critiques in nature, reflecting our world from an African diasporic lens.
When I create, I think about my family’s decision to journey to America, how the time and place of where I stand influences my perspective and how I navigate through life. I think of the thousands of people who came before me, who’s stories I may not know but embody. The beauty in life is how individualistic our stories are while simultaneously connected to the past, present, and future of humanity’s timeline.
I want people to consider how varying our lives are and how differently people are experiencing life on the same planet and even in these differences, we are able to locate the ties between differing cultures and communities. I aim to tell more stories of what would have been forgotten, lost in time, destroyed in conflict, or even retold from an outsider’s lens.
Art allows us to be vulnerable, to share pieces of ourselves and our history from a distinct perspective. Art allows us to learn about our past and reconnect with old traditions as we build our futures. Documented records—written, drawn or digitally created—are the primary reason we are able to learn anything about our past civilizations and customs. By minting my illustrations as NFTs, I’m able to own the narrative backed by a technology which sustains the artwork permanently.