Featured Image: Internationally acclaimed artist Jacky Tsai speaks on his MetaSkull Collection in collaboration with Froyo Games alongside his other monumental contemporary digital artworks featured at the Digital Art Fair Xperience Hong Kong 2022.

London-based and Shanghai-born digital artist Jacky Tsai in collaboration with Froyo Games has launched “MetaSkull Collection ” NFTs for Metaverse. The collection consists of 1,001 unique works all focused on the three themes of gambling, poker and anti-war. Interestingly, Tsai has created the NFTs using 3d technologies which differentiates his works from the majority of NFT artist’s working in 2D.

The designs may look familiar as Jacky found international recognition when Alexander McQueen adopted his floral skull emblem for the 2008 spring/summer menswear collection. Tsai approached the body of work to dispel the fear and negative attitudes towards death amongst Chinese communities.

To mark the launch of MetaSkull, Sotheby’s will auction the first NFT (1/1001) in an online auction in the Collection between October 20th to 28th.

“I am thrilled to present my digital art masterpieces in their various forms and bring new perspectives on my art to the digital audience. The launch of MetaSkull expounds on humanity’s differing views on death, as it highlights shifting attitudes towards life and how our choices ultimately influence our journey towards the inevitable end. I relish seeing immersive digital art in the metaverse as I embark on this next phase of artistic expression.” said Jacky Tsai.

MetaSkull NFT © Jacky Tsai

A print of a 2001 painting by King Charles III was sold as part of Bonhams’ “The Scottish Home” auction this week. The print, one of 100 and depicting Balmoral Castle, was valued at about $675, and sold for over $6,500. Particularly in the wake of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II earlier in September, the subject matter, a favourite location for the late Queen, piqued the interest of bidders.

“In my time as an auctioneer I have never seen so many commission bids lodged prior to an auction,” said Hamish Wilson, senior valuer at Bonhams, according to CNN. “I think that speaks for itself.”

“Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture, which is impossible to achieve via photography,” King Charles said, according to The Scotsman. On his painting practice, the King continued, “You become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously – things like the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture and of the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape,” he said. “It all requires the most intense concentration and, consequently, is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know.”

Photo courtesy of Bonhams

A group of Iranian artists dropped 12 banners inscribed “Women, Life, Freedom” with portraits of Mahsa Amini at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. In protest of the death of Iranian Amini by the “morality police” after purportedly ‘incorrectly’ wearing her hijab.

In a statement, the New York City-based artist collective Anonymous Artists for Iran called the Guggenheim protest “a call for action to support the current revolution in Iran. They stated, “Dismantling women’s rights is a global challenge, an issue we unfortunately face whether here in the West or in the Middle East…Mahsa will not be forgotten and the cruel injustice done to the women of Iran can no longer be ignored.”

The bright red banners were unfurled in the museum’s iconic spiral staircase from the top floor to onlooking visitors cheering and clapping with support.

“The people of Iran are subjected to horrific violence and brutality on a daily basis,” reads the collective’s statement. “With restricted Internet access and minimal or false coverage by Western media, it is time to see them and hear them by shedding light on their fearless fight against a totalitarian system.”

The banners depicted the face of Mahsa Amini and the phrase “Woman, Life, Freedom.” (all images courtesy Anonymous Artists for Iran)

A team of researchers led by José Huchim Herrera of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered an important Mayan stela in a sunken patio at Uxmal, an ancient Maya city. The city was founded around 500 C.E. and quickly emerged as one of the most powerful Maya polities in the area. Uxmal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The stela was discovered as part of the Program for the Improvement of Archeological Sites (Promeza), which undertakes archaeological projects along the route of the Maya Train. The double-sided stele features two deities—one female, the other male—that are believed to represent life and death. INAH director Diego Prieto explained that such images are commonly found in the southern Yucatán Peninsula. The director of INAH said that “the importance of the discovery lies in the fact that it was found ‘in situ.’”

The north-facing side of the monument features the figure of a goddess with big eyes, a bare chest, and barbels at the corner of the mouth. The south-facing side of the stele features the image of a god with a wide-brimmed headdress adorned with feathers and an owl’s head, as well as bracelets, loincloth, and leg bandages.

A dual Mayan stele in the archaeological zone of Uxmal, Yucatan. Courtesy of National Institute of Anthropology and History

In the wake of a recent Just Stop Oil climate protest which saw soup thrown at a Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery, London, Aileen Getty has donated $1 Million to the climate activists. The granddaughter of J. Paul Getty, Aileen is the co-founder of the non-profit Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), an organization which financially supported several climate protests in the UK. She has also never worked in the oil industry, instead devoting her time as an active philanthropist. Her self-named foundation “dedicates the bulk of its resources to organizations and individuals addressing the climate emergency”.

The heiresses identity and her financial involvement in CEF has recently been put in the spotlight again after more recent protests. The protests have included soup thrown at historically important artworks in major institutions and Just Stop Oil activists gluing themselves to the frames of famous paintings at the Royal Academy, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and the Manchester Art Gallery. The confrontational nature of the protests has been highlighted, particularly in institutions that do not have ties to funders of the fossil fuel industry. On October 15, the CEF tweeted several statements about the criticism of Getty’s wealth.

Just Stop Oil’s protest at the National Gallery. Courtesy of National Gallery