SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 25 June 2021, Friday |

UK artist hopes world’s largest art canvas sparks humanitarian movement

DUBAI: British artist Sacha Jafri unveiled 70 framed sections of his work “Journey of Humanity,” on Thursday. The world’s largest canvas, it will be auctioned off to raise funds for charity.

The 44-year-old contemporary artist hopes his Guinness World Record-holding painting, which spanned 1,595.76 square metres of the ballroom at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm hotel, will spark a humanitarian movement.

Reminiscent of Pollock, the colourful painting now adorns the walls of the luxury hotel’s ballroom in 70 separate framed pieces of varying sizes that will be sold at auction in the coming years. The aim is to raise at least $30 million to fund health, sanitation and education initiatives for children in impoverished parts of the world.

Currently based in Dubai, Jafri said he has an even more ambitious goal.

“I don’t want this to be a one-off thing,” the artist told AFP Thursday. “I want to actually help change the world, and the way to do that is we’re going to put the internet in all the poorest communities of the world.

“Then we can bring education in, and give [children] a real education… and where are they going to put that? Back into their community.

“All you need is five success stories from those communities, and you can change the world. That’s what we’re going to try to do. It’s going to take 10 years, but we can do it.”

The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the globe has resonated with Jafri, highlighting a break between humanity and the planet and driving him to focus his efforts on connecting people to counter its impact on children.

“When humanity becomes disconnected from the soul of the Earth, it’s a far bigger problem than COVID-19 will ever be,” said Jafri, sporting a paint-splattered blazer over jeans, a white T-shirt and cowboy boots. “We were allowing the destruction of the planet. That’s well known, but what isn’t well known is that we were allowing the destruction of humanity. That’s unforgivable.”

Jafri’s “humanity-inspired” artwork took him seven months to complete – working at a pace of 18 to 20 hours a day. He used more than 6,000 litres of paint and over 1,000 brushes to lay down almost 300 layers of colour on the massive canvas.

Children from 140 countries submitted artwork online to be included in Jafri’s creation, which was completed at the end of September, shortly before it was confirmed by Guinness World Records as the “Largest Art Canvas.”

“It depicts the soul of the Earth, nature, humanity itself,” Jafri told AFP in September, “the love and nurture of the mother, the guidance and protection of the father, as they guide their child through life and enable them to feel safe, loved and brave, so they can grow their wings, make their dreams come true and take them into the solar system.”