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world art Dubai

How to own a record-breaking piece of Dubai art history

The ‘Largest Art Canvas’ in the world, The Journey of Humanity paints a better future for the most in-need children on earth

Fancy owning a piece of art history created right here in the UAE? Now’s your chance.

A 17,000-square-foot masterpiece, ‘The Journey of Humanity’ holds the Guinness World Record™ for the largest art canvas in the world, and was revealed at Atlantis the Palm this weekend – the very place it was first brought to life.

Created during lockdown by Dubai-based British artist and philanthropist Sacha Jafri over a period of 28 weeks in Atlantis, The Palm’s ballroom from March to September 2020, the painting showcases the strength of human connection and collaboration as well as a commitment to creating a better future for all humanity.  

Part of the artist’s charitable initiative ‘Humanity Inspired’, children from around the world were invited to submit their drawings, pictures, paintings, collages and sketches, inspiring Sacha to create the first layer of the canvas (the Soul) focusing on the themes of isolation and connection.  

Unveiled in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares, the royal unveiling of the painting marks the return of the art piece to Atlantis, The Palm having been cut, stretched and framed into individual artworks that will be auctioned off over the coming 12 months to raise money for charity.

“‘The Journey of Humanity’ represents my own journey that I embarked upon during the COVID-19 pandemic to fulfil my dream to reconnect our planet”, explained Sacha of his record-breaking artwork. ‘So many people have contributed to this beautiful initiative, in so many different ways at a time when the world had become completely disconnected. My creation narrates the story of hope and positivity at a time when we are grappling with the biggest crisis of our generation. If one man can spend 20 hours a day to create this painting, imagine what 7.5 billion could do if they came together?”

With the pandemic causing one of the biggest disruptions in the history of the education sector,  children’s learning and development has been affected at an unprecedented level. Closing schools to prevent the spread of the virus has created massive dependence on online learning, but according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet, effectively cutting them off from an education.

Described as ‘The Modern-Day Sistine Chapel’, the ‘Journey of Humanity’ invites the global community to serve as a catalyst for change for underprivileged children in urgent need of assistance and support. By purchasing part of the record-breaking painting, individuals will own a piece of history while making a significant positive difference in the lives of children most affected by the pandemic. 

With the aim of raising more than AED 110 million across live auctions over the next 12 months, funds will be routed through Dubai Cares to the initiative’s beneficiary partners that include UNICEF, UNESCO, The Global Gift Foundation and Dubai Cares for their humanitarian initiatives to tackle issues related to children’s digital access to connectivity and learning, as well as healthcare and sanitation. The Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence and the Ministry of Education in the UAE also joined the initiative. 

“Children today are facing some of the biggest challenges of our times including an increasingly growing digital divide that prevents them from acquiring quality education. Lack of access to connectivity is fueling this divide like never before, demanding our urgent attention and action,’ said Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares and a Member of its Board of Directors.‘Initiatives like ‘Humanity Inspired’ are the need of the hour. They allow us to connect with our partners in meaningful ways, and collectively champion the cause for children and youth’s education by ensuring that digital connectivity becomes an enabler instead of a barrier. Empowering more and more children the opportunity to learn, flourish and succeed, this incredible initiative truly inspires us to believe in the goodness of mankind and the power of connection and collaboration.”

Part of the funds raised from the initiative will be directed towards UNICEF’s Giga, an initiative launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to connect every school in the world to the internet. 

The initiative will also support UNESCO in their efforts towards facilitating the production and endorsement of a Global Declaration on Connectivity for Learning and Livelihood, which aims to make connected learning more inclusive and more equitable, and will be launched by Dubai Cares and its partners during Expo 2020 Dubai. 

In addition, Humanity Inspired will support The Global Gift Foundation’s causes and initiatives which are designed to support projects that eradicate poverty and hunger, ensuring the most vulnerable don’t have to struggle to put food on the table, giving access to health care and lifesaving treatments as well as providing shelter, clothing and the right to an education. 

The largest social, artistic and philanthropic initiative of its kind in history, ‘Humanity Inspired’ was launched under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence in partnership with Dubai Cares and Atlantis, The Palm, and has reached more than 2.5 billion individuals worldwide.

“I thank Dubai Cares and Atlantis, The Palm along with all of our partners and supporters who are on this historical and incredible journey with us,’ said Sacha of his charitable initiative. ‘Humanity Inspired’ is a legacy, and we are creating a movement that has only just begun.” 

The general public can explore select pieces from ‘The Journey of Humanity’ at the Leila Heller Gallery, the largest in the UAE located in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. Those interested in owning a piece of the artwork and a piece of history can obtain more information by emailing  [email protected]

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