Proceeds from world’s largest painting to be donated to organizations supporting children
The impact of the world’s largest painting is going to far surpass its 17,000 square feet.
In March, artist Sacha Jafri sold his massive magnum opus, The Journey of Humanity, to businessman Andre Abdoune for $62 million at a Dubai charity auction. All proceeds from the sale will be donated to programs supporting child health and education.
Children were central to the creation of Jafri’s enormous work. The British painter asked children from around the world to send him artwork reflecting their personal experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, Jafri pasted their work in various places across his sprawling canvas—which about the size of four NBA basketball courts. Guinness World Records named the masterpiece the world’s largest canvas painting.
Stuck in Dubai because of the pandemic, Jafri was inspired to use his isolation as a means to create his most expansive work yet. Last year, at the start of the project, Jafri told CNN that he “wanted to create something poignant, something that would mean something. Something that could potentially make a really big difference.”
So, Jafri filled up the entire ballroom of Dubai’s Atlantis Palm hotel with canvas and quite literally got on his hands and knees to create The Journey of Humanity. According to a CBC article, Jafri spent 20 hours per day painting during the eight month project. The operation included 1,065 paint brushes and over 1,600 gallons of paint, along with one emergency back procedure. Jafri’s back, pelvis, and heels all suffered injuries during his relentless creative process, which involved strenuous, active body movement. He tells CBC: “I did a lot of damage to my body. I paint from a very sort of deep, meditative state. So I’m in a trance. I don’t realize the damage I’m doing [to my body].”
Jafri had cut his painting into 70 different panels, with the goal of selling them individually. He anticipated that, in total, he would fetch $30 million at auction to ultimately distribute to various youth-focused charities and organizations.
So, Abdoune’s offer to buy all of the panels for $62 million came as a shock—and made Jafri’s vision all the more real. Quoted in CNN, Jafri says: “I had a vision to reconnect our broken planet through the hearts, minds and souls of the children of the world. I feel in my heart that we have come one step closer to achieving [this goal]…thanks to Andre.”