World’s ‘largest art canvas’ sells for $62M: organisers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Contemporary British artist Sacha Jafri gestures as he stands on his record-breaking painting entitled The Journey of Humanity on September 23 in the Emirati city of Dubai. AFP

Work by British artist Sacha Jafri consisting of the world’s largest painting on canvas has been sold for $62 million at an auction in Dubai, organisers said on March 23.

The Journey of Humanity is split into 70 framed sections spanning 1,595.76sqm – equivalent to nearly four basketball courts.

Organisers said in a statement that the work sold for $62 million, double the amount targeted, with the money going to charities that help children.

Andre Abdoune, a French national residing in Dubai – one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE – bought all 70 segments on March 22 at an auction in Dubai’s “Atlantis, The Palm”.

The work, confirmed by the Guinness World Records as the “Largest Art Canvas”, had been put on display in the ballroom of the opulent hotel, and was originally meant to be sold in segments.

“I come from a poor family, and I knew at times how it feels to have nothing to eat, but at least I had the love of my parents, schooling, and support,” said Abdoune, who runs a cryptocurrency business.

“The painting was very powerful when I saw it, and, for me, it would have been a mistake to separate the pieces,” said the former stock trader.

Abdoune also highlighted the coronavirus pandemic, noting how it had taken a toll on children around the world.

He said: “We have to react, so if I can bring my little piece in the puzzle, I’m happy.”

Jafri had aimed to raise $30 million to fund health, sanitation and education initiatives for children in impoverished parts of the world.

The 44-year-old contemporary artist is hoping his painting will spark a humanitarian movement.

Children from 140 countries submitted artwork online to be included in Jafri’s creation, which was completed at the end of September.