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Artist Hopes To Raise $30m Selling the World’s Largest Canvas Painting

Sacha Jafri was traveling in the United Arab Emirates in April, when COVID-19 closures were beginning to block avenues of travel. The British citizen wound up stuck in Dubai when the UAE locked down travel five months ago. Unable to remain idle, the artist worked out an arrangement with Atlantis, the Palm, Dubai’s legendary luxury hotel. Since the hotel has been unable to use its enormous Atlantis Ballroom, a space meant to seat 500, Jafri turned the space into an artist’s studio for a massive undertaking.

Titled “The Journey of Humanity,” Jafri’s abstract painting is over 21,000-square-feet, around the size of two full-sized football fields. Painted almost entirely by Jafri alone, it has taken nearly five months so far. When he finishes it, it will be the world’s largest canvas painting.

Jafri describes his style, which consists of intensely chaotic and colorful abstract patterns made with both traditional brushwork and drip-painting, as “magical realism.” He has works in the collections of Barack Obama and other celebrities.

“Journey,” which is overwhelming in the way it fills the ballroom like a graffiti carpet, is divided into eight “portals” based on which colors are dominant. And at the center of each portal, Jafri has featured a piece of art created by a child from somewhere around the world, submitted over the past few months through his website.

When finished, Jafri intends to cut “Journey” into 60 pieces, each approximately 10’x10′, frame them, and sell them in a Dubai art auction in December. He hopes to raise $30,000,000, with the aim of donating it to Humanity United, an umbrella charity supporting children in poverty.

“Each person that buys a panel will (not only) own a piece of the largest painting ever created in the world,” said Jafri, “but they’ll own a piece of history, because what we’re doing with that money is huge.”

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Dubai Officials Angry Over Kim Kardashian Charity Visit

Say what you will about Kim Kardashian, but the fact is she is extremely generous. In an interview with E! Entertainment, Kardashian revealed that she gives 10 percent of her income to charity. In other words, she donates millions of dollars to noble causes.

While most people would find this rather honorable, Dubai officials certainly didn’t. During a recent trip to the city, Kardashian paid a visit to the Rashid Center for the Disabled. The organization provides education and therapy services to children with special needs.

So what’s the problem? According to Dhahi Khalfan, a senior Dubai police official, the problem is that her visit was “unauthorized.”

“We do not need the presence of Kim Kardashian in charity centers … charities (should) invite good people, and thank God we have plenty of good people,” Khalfan tweeted.

But just because police officials didn’t welcome Kardashian’s visit, that doesn’t mean the children didn’t. In fact, the children’s reaction was quite the contrary. They extended a warm welcome to Kardashian, greeting her with smiles and dance performances.

Kardashian reported being overjoyed by the children’s excitement. In a recent Twitter post, she said that the children were her favorite part of the trip.

“My favorite part of the trip was visiting Rashid Paediatric Therapy Center. These beautiful children showed me a performance of a lifetime!” Kardashian wrote.

Even the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Center deemed it an “amazing day” on its Facebook page. So then why was it such a big deal?

Because the Rashid Center didn’t get “approval” for hosting the American celebrity. As a result, the Ministry of Community Development fined the center for being in violation of its activity approval policy.

It’s a shame that something so well intended went awry. It serves as a gentle reminder that foreign charities have different rules than U.S.-based ones.