World’s Largest Painting Raises £45m for Charity

In September, a painting created by British artist Sacha Jafri, was recognised as the largest art canvas ever in the Guinness World Records.

The 1,600 sq. m (17,000 sq. ft) artwork was painted in an abandoned ballroom at a hotel in Dubai, and took Jafri eight months to complete. 

The painting titled as, ‘The Journey of Humanity’, was sold for £45m to fund-raise money for children’s charities. The BBC had reported that the artist from London first hoped to raise $30m [£22m], and was “blown away” to have questioned it. 

Jafri first began by putting out a bid for children to send a portrayal of how they felt during the global pandemic. Children from around 140 countries engaged with his appeal, all of which influenced his work.

“I was in a deep meditative state. I looked through all the [children’s] work – I paint from the subconscious, and then whatever’s in there comes out. Nothing’s planned. There’s no sketches. There were no drawings”, he explained. 

Jafri announced that the process caused a serious injury to his pelvis and feet, which called for an emergency operation on his spine.

He revealed that his focus on the art piece allowed him to escape into a daydream, not realising the damage he was causing to his body. 

“I was on my feet but bent down so my brush can touch the floor”, he stated, “So that’s a pretty bad position to be in for 20 hours a day. I was in a trance.”

Jafri’s initial plan was to sell his painting in 70 parts, however French cryptocurrency businessman Ander Abdoune, bought the whole piece. Thus making ‘The Journey of Humanity’ the highest selling art canvas by a living artist. 

He [Jafri] expressed that he was “overwhelmed” by the amount he was able to raise from one painting in just one night. 

Jafri (left) and French businessman, Ander Abdoune in Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

Jafri decided that the full $62m [£45m] would go to Dubai Cares, UNESCO, UNICEF and the Global Gift Foundation to help underprivileged children in countries like South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and India.

“The money would be spent on healthcare and sanitation for the poorest communities in the world”, he expressed.

His goal is to connect kids to the internet so they can have access to educational platforms. He believes that the internet has a large impact on children, and that lack of access is the cause of large disparities in education. 

Jafri was pleased with the buyer’s “beautiful vision” for his work, he added, “his vision now is he wants to build a museum to house the painting.” 

They aim to “inspire the next generation” without the “nonsense of the art world” tainting their views by setting up a new foundation. 

*partially sourced from the BBC 

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