Amelia Peláez, an artist that passed away in the late 1960s, was arguably one of the most talented artists that ever stepped foot on the face of the earth. In fact, her artwork and the home she lived in helped define a generation of Cuban artists.
Unfortunately, this happened while the Fidel Castro-led regime started to take hold of the country. As the regime took hold, the Cuban government started confiscating art, and Amelia Peláez’s work was no different.
This created a big issue. Not only was Amelia never rewarded for the beautiful pieces she created, the Castro regime created several forgeries and unofficial composites over the years, flooding the market with fake paintings or unauthorized copies.
Nonetheless, more than 50 years later, Amelia Peláez’s family and the Amelia Peláez Foundation, are using the latest technology in art to liberate her paintings. They’re using non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
Amelia Peláez Foundation Plans the Launch of NFTs
Recently, news broke that the Amelia Peláez foundation will be launching a series of NFTs. While images of Peláez’s paintings will be included as part of these digital tokens, the real value of the launch is to provide proof of ownership. According to Peláez’s descendant and Miami-based playwright, actor, and filmmaker, Carmen Peláez, the move will liberate the artwork from the Cuban government.
In fact in a recent statement, Carmen Peláez recently said that she finds it “obscene that this authoritarian regime has for 62 years controlled art that was never theirs to begin with.”
She went on to explain that most of Ameilia Peláez’s paintings, referred to in the art community as Amelias, are hostages of the current Cuban regime. Not only are these paintings hostages, according to Peláez, the conditions that these works of art are held in are deplorable, with broken humidifiers and no real care for the art. Peláez explained:
“That’s why we’re liberating her art. Instead of keeping them in warehouses where there are broken humidifiers, or the regime making copies and flooding the market with fakes… we’re breaking new ground in the digital space.
As a result of her goal to liberate her ancestor’s art from the Cuban government, Peláez, and the Amelia Peláez Foundation she heads up, will be launching AMELIASNFT. Through this NFT collection, Peláez will sell first-edition copies of Amelias that are certified by entries on the blockchain.
How Peláez Plans to Use the Proceeds From the Sales
In an announcement, Peláez said she plans on using the proceeds from the NFT sales to create a definitive catalog of Ameilia’s work, explaining that doing so will effectively wipe fake Amelia paintings off the market while shutting off a financial resource for what she calls “the most cynical in the dictatorship’s art market.”
However, that’s not going to be the only use of proceeds.
Peláez explained in a blog post that the proceeds will also be used to support groups that are centered like Miami Freedom Project and Cubalex, non-profit organizations that are working to liberate the Cuban people. Moreover, proceeds will also be used to back legal initiatives for a democratic Cuba that’s free of political prisoners. In a statement from a blog post about the launch, Peláez said:
“Amelia never belonged to the revolution. Amelia will always belong to Cuba and Cubans wherever they may find themselves. Were she alive now, I know she wouldn’t stand by quietly as the dictatorship jailed artists, poets and innocent Cubans demanding their freedom. She would do whatever she could to support them. For Amelia, life without integrity was nothing at all.”
What to Do to Get Your Hands on an Amelia NFT
The Amelia NFT auction will take place on December 8, 2021 at AmeliasNFT.com. Some pieces that have been auctioned off in the NFT space have garnered significantly high prices, and considering the utility of this collection being to liberate art created by one of the best artists that ever walked the face of this earth, there’s a strong chance that the prices paid at the auction will be jaw-dropping.
Nonetheless, if you’re ready to throw some cash around to get your hands on a piece of art history, you’ll want to take part in the auction by logging onto AmerliasNFT on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.
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This Is a HUGE Story
We’ve talked quite a bit about big NFT sales, pieces of collections selling for millions of dollars, and the fact that these sales are often changing the world thanks to the massive donations they’re resulting in for non-profit organizations. However, this particular launch is near and dear to my heart.
Growing up in South Florida, I had a melting pot of friends, many of whom were of Cuban descent. I remember hearing jaw-dropping stories surrounding the horrible things the government in the country would do to its people and the lengths these people would go to in order to find their way here, to the United States.
One of my friends even explained a life-and-death ride across miles of ocean in a small float with 12 other family members, four of which never made it to American soil. As a result, I’ve always had a soft spot for people living in the conditions that were explained to me.
The fact that Peláez is working against such a daunting regime to liberate Cuban art and history is astonishing, and the proceeds going to charities working to bring democracy and freedom to the country is incredible.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is simple, Amelia NFTs have the potential to be a big hit, but not simply because they’re digital tokens. These tokens will help liberate and preserve art and history that has been held hostage for decades while sales proceeds from this art will be used to help do the same for the people of Cuba. What a story!