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Photo courtesy of Alice Gbelia.

Meet the Ivorian Woman Behind the Online Platform Bringing Affordable Black Art to The World

Ayoka-Deco is Alice Gbelia's effort to make supporting young black artists easier, as well as give them a platform.

Ayoka-Deco is what happens when art, visibility and affordability come together.

For Alice Gbelia, the Ivorian-French entrepreneur behind the project, the idea to build an online platform for young, black artists came after she was in need of paintings for her new home. "I went to Instagram and found all these young, black artists," says Gbelia. "But it wasn't a smooth process to buy from them."

According to Gbelia, the problem was twofold. Not only was it difficult for interested parties to learn about new artists, but it was just as difficult for young artists, whose primary selling platforms were the internet and social media in particular to reach the kind of audience they wanted to. Another challenge for the artists, "was making that sure you were not selling yourself short," Rahana Dariah, a British-West Indian artist featured on the site, adds.

Gbelia then decided to step in to build a website focused solely promoting the art she enjoyed seeing on her walls, with the hope that others would too.

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