British Asian Sacha Jafri’s painting raises £45m for children’s charities


A visitor walks past the painting by British artist Sacha Jafri at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai. (Reuters Photo)
A visitor walks past the painting by British artist Sacha Jafri at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai. (Reuters Photo)

BRITISH ASIAN artist Sacha Jafri spent eight months creating the world’s largest painting in a deserted hotel’s ballroom in Dubai. Now, that gigantic painting has been sold for £45m, and the funds will go towards children’s charities.

He wanted to sell the painting in 70 parts, but a French cryptocurrency businessman, Andre Abdoune, bought the entire work.

Londoner Jafri, 44, with roots in India and Pakistan, said he was “blown away” after his work became the most expensive paintings ever sold at an auction by a living artist.

Funds from the painting will go to Dubai Cares, Unicef, Unesco and the Global Gift Foundation to help disadvantaged children in India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

Jafri put out an appeal for children to send him their pictures about how they felt during the pandemic. He received responses from 140 countries and that became his inspiration for the painting.

“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.

“I was literally pouring paint, and then putting another layer on top and another layer, another layer, another layer, just feeling my way through it until something magical happened,” Jafri told the BBC.

The painting, titled “The Journey of Humanity”, was sold in Dubai on Monday (22), and in September, the Guinness World Records recognised it as the largest ever art canvas.

The buyer, according to Jafri, wants to “build a museum to house the painting”.

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