The Japanese artist behind the horrifying image used in the viral Momo controversy stated that he has already destroyed the sculpture, proclaiming “Momo is dead.”
According to the artist Keisuke Aisawa, identified by the Sun as Keisuke Aiso, he feels “responsible” for terrifying parents and children around the world after online trolls used his piece to prank victims via the “Momo Challenge.”
The 46-year-old artist, who has created various pieces of art for more than 20 years, has a studio in the outskirts of Tokyo.
His sculpture of a woman with grotesque features and bulging eyes has been used by online pranksters as an avatar for accounts connected to the so-called challenge.
“It doesn’t exist anymore, it was never meant to last,” Aisawa was quoted as saying. “It was rotten and I threw it away. The children can be reassured Momo is dead – she doesn’t exist and the curse is gone.”
The artwork, which was originally called Mother Bird, was on display at Tokyo’s horror art Vanilla Gallery for Japanese special effects company, Link Factory.
Aisawa added that all that is left of the monster now is its left eye, which he plans on recycling for other projects.
Based on the lore, the Momo challenge is an online game, shared on messaging services like WhatsApp, that convinces young children to commit violence or even suicide.
It made headlines last year for allegedly causing the death of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina. While it has been refuted by various police agencies worldwide due to lack of evidence, the hysteria surrounding the Momo challenge grew, sparking other iterations of the challenge.