Miltos Manetas, an esteemed Colombian artist, has successfully launched new non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring portraits of the now-imprisoned Australian activist Julian Paul Assange. Manetas aims to leverage the new NFTs to raise global awareness for the imprisoned activist.
In an exclusive interview, the Colombian-based artist confirmed the successful launch of the new digital collectibles dubbed “This Cannot Be Erased.” The new NFTs that exclusively debuted at the Annual International Art Exhibition “Biennale Arte” in Venice feature a limited collection of 111 NFTs.
“This Cannot Be Erased” NFTs will allow the holder exclusive access to a 1-of-1 digital version of hand-painted oil-on-canvas artworks that he has been creating for the last two years. Manetas will roll out the new digital collectibles in three phases.
According to Manetas, all proceed from the NFT sale will go towards a decentralized autonomous organization associated with his Internet Pavilion, the dedicated tech tent sponsoring this year’s 59th festival. Manetas created the Pavilion in 2009.
Assange’s Legal Battle
Julian Paul Assange, the Australian publisher, activist, and former founder of the infamous WikiLeaks, went behind judicial bars in 2019. Since then, Assange has been reprimanded at Belmarsh prison, facing charges of conspiring to hack into the Pentagon computer network in 2010.
During the interview, Manetas revealed that he is not just supportive of Assange’s legal cause, disclosing that he personally met with Assange on several occasions, counting him as a dear friend. According to Manetas, his ambition with the new NFTs collection is to shine a spotlight on the case.
Manetas claimed that many media platforms have neglected Assange’s legal battle. According to Manetas, the implications of Assange are far-reaching, threatening press freedom in countries that proudly enjoy liberal democracies.
In that context, the new Assange-themed NFTs exclusively debuting on the 59th Internet Pavilion in Venice feature the prison-like domain of The Gervasuti Foundation on the site of the family’s artisan wood workshop.
Manetas started painting portraits of Assange during the 2020 lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, the Colombian-based artist donated his first artwork for free to supporters of the # Assange Power movement.
Manetas’ newly launched NFTs depict Assange holding up a clenched fist of defiance, and other artworks depict the bespectacled Australian activist cagily from a prison van. Each NFT features a piece of music composed by Manetas’ long-term collaborator Howie B.
The seventh NFT edition at the Internet Pavilion in Venice features the theme “Assange is Internet Internet is Assange” (AIIA). The art-centric blockchain platform Materia and Democracy in Europe Movement 2025(DiEM25) are currently facilitating the NFT project. . Before summarizing, Manetas said that he dedicated the new NFTs to Assange, adding:
“Thanks to NFTs cannot be erased or silenced – the blockchain exists, and everything that happens can be recorded there. Destroying his body doesn’t destroy his spirit or our spirit. We are free to join the Venice Biennale during these 222 days, but Assange will be imprisoned.”
In the meantime, the Assange legal fight continues attracting the attention of many notable states around the globe. China is among the international states blocking the extradition ruling against Assange.
China recently slammed the United States and the United Kingdom, describing them as hypocrites on press freedom. China accuses the two states of pursuing charges against the activist for intruding top secrets about the US military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange now faces a 175-year jail term.
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