Martin Mobarak’s name may not sound unfamiliar to some.
Well, he has been in an ongoing controversy after he burned his rare allegedly Frida Kahlo artwork, which was — of course — valued at millions of dollars – to turn it into an NFT.
Kahlo’s Fantasmones siniestros was presumably burned on July 30, 2022, in the middle of a charitable party celebrated in Miami, FL. The $10 million work of art can be seen being burned on top of what looks like a martini glass in a video shared on social media.
According to a Frida.nft’s Instagram post, this event symbolized the transformation and revolution of art and charity.
“This profound act was done for unfortunate and sick children, battered women, and other less fortunate around the world to receive hope,” reads the post while inviting people to purchase this limited edition NFT on www.fridanft.org.
The “art world” reacts after burnt Kahlo’s work
This unusual practice caused hundreds of people to react negatively, condemning Mobarak’s actions.
A millionaire named Martin Mobarak just burned an original Frida Kahlo illustration, purportedly worth $10M, so that he can sell the digital copy as an NFT. This is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen in art history. 1/2 #fridakahlo #arthistory https://t.co/aZ1L9MAnNt
— MJ Dorian (@MJDorian) September 28, 2022
Chicano artist and Pulitzer finalist Lalo Alcaraz cataloged this practice as “horrible.”
“Complete ignorance. A stupid and senseless stunt annihilating a priceless piece of art for ‘money’. The fact that this was done in the US and Florida worsens everything because of the hatred toward Hispanics. For this retrograde company, nothing will make you have class,” a user commented on a Frida.ntf’s Instagram post.
Mexican authorities investigate
On September 26, 2022, Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts (INBAL, by its acronym in Spanish) shared an official statement establishing that the entity will not receive any donation from the millionaire businessman.
The Mexican authority also shared an ongoing investigation is collecting important information that could clarify if the burned piece was an original work or a reproduction.
Under Mexican law, the destruction of an artistic monument is considered a federal crime.