What can one artist in the Philippines do in the face of a devastating typhoon ripping through her hometown? Michelle Soneja del Mundo, better known as Shelly Soneja in the art community, decided to put her powers—drawing—to good use.

To raise funds for disaster relief, Soneja wanted to sell her digital drawing of a “Tawong Lipod”, a wind spirit from local folklore (Catanduanes, the typhoon-ravaged island where her family lives, is also known as “The Land of the Howling Winds”). The only way she could get a meaningful amount was by riding on a different kind of wind gusting through the art world: non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

AUTHOR

Li Mei Foong

Li Mei Foong is based in Kuala Lumpur, where she seeks to connect the dots between culture and technology in Southeast Asia while keeping an eye on interesting development in its digital creative space. She was previously a freelance features journalist and has reported for regional publications including Channel News Asia (CNA), Southeast Asia Globe, and New Naratif.

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