Sacha Jafri’s ‘The Journey of Humanity’ Reaches $ 62 Million at Dubai Charity Auction


Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

The world’s largest canvas sold at auction in Dubai for almost Dh228 million ($ 62 million), placing it among the most expensive works of art ever auctioned.

At over 17,000 square feet, “The Journey of Humanity” is roughly equivalent in size to four NBA-regulated basketball courts.

The work was created by the British painter Sacha Jafri in order to raise funds for children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having cut the job into 70 parts, Jafri initially intended to sell the panels separately in hopes of making a total of $ 30 million. But at a charity auction on Monday, Dubai-based businessman Andre Abdoune bid more than double to buy them all.

Jafri photographed with a section of “The Voyage of Humanity” at the Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai. Credit: CNN

The sale places Jafri’s name among the most expensive living artists in the world. The $ 62 million raised for “The Journey of Humanity” has only been surpassed at auction by works by Jeff Koons, David Hockney and digital artist Beeple, whose NFT image “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was sold to through Christie’s for more than $ 69 million. earlier this month.

As part of Jafri’s Humanity Inspired initiative, proceeds from the auction will be donated to UNICEF, UNESCO, The Global Gift Foundation and Dubai Cares for programs related to early childhood education, healthcare, sanitation and digital connectivity. In a press release issued by Dubai Cares, Jafri described the sale as “a moment for humanity.”

“At the beginning of my ‘Inspired by Humanity’ initiative, I had a vision to reconnect our broken planet through the hearts, minds and souls of the world’s children,” he is quoted as saying. “I feel in my heart that we are one step closer to achieving this tonight, thanks to Andre.”

Record feat

The artwork holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest art canvas. It was created in a ballroom at the Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai, where Jafri was based when the United Arab Emirates introduced lockdown measures to control the spread of Covid-19 last year.
“I was stuck in Dubai and I wanted to create something moving, something that meant something,” he told CNN last year, before completing the artwork. “Something that could potentially make a big difference.”

Related Video: Sacha Jafri talks to CNN about the completion of the painting last year.

The painting, which takes seven months to complete, features abstract brush strokes and drip painting in a style that Jafri calls “magical realism.” The canvas was divided into four connected segments, the first representing “the soul of the Earth” and the others alluding to nature, humanity and the universe in general, Jafri said.

The painter, who was educated at the elite British boarding school Eton alongside Prince William, had also asked children around the world to contribute their own artwork focusing on the themes of connection, separation and isolation during the pandemic. . The presentations were printed on paper and incorporated into the huge canvas.

“I asked the children of the world to send their works of art: how they feel now, their emotions,” he explained last year. “We as adults find it difficult. We found the last five months very difficult, very confusing, very frustrating, and quite scary. But imagine how a 4-year-old feels.”

Sacha Jafri has baptized his painting style "magical realism."

Sacha Jafri has called his painting style “magical realism”. Credit: CNN

Abdoune, the new owner of the artwork, said in a press release that the “investment and love” that Jafri put into the painting was “incredible.”

“My whole life I had the goal of helping children,” he said. “When I was a kid, I didn’t have anything to eat. Now I have something to eat. We all have to do something.”

Portions of the artwork will be on display in the retrospective of Jafri’s career, which is currently on display at the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai.

Top image: Sacha Jafri at the opening of her exhibition at the Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai in February 2021.

.

Source link