DUBAΪ: British artist Sacha Jafri opened his latest exhibition, The Art Maze, at the Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah heliport in Dubai last Wednesday.
The exhibition, presented in partnership with art curator and architect Marcus Schaefer, presents thirty works in oil and acrylic that celebrate the 50and anniversary of the Unesco World Heritage Site program.
Jafri began preparations for the exhibition six months ago before making these works over a six-week period.
“These six months have been the most trying of my life. Yesterday, I painted twenty-eight hours without stopping. Without food, without water, without anything. I was like a walking ghost,” he said at a press conference.
Jafri says the exhibition was a personal dream he had had since he started painting at the age of 12.
The artist remembers his mother taking him to visit World Heritage sites when he was a child.
“I didn’t enjoy it very much, to be honest. But mom did this for me and in my later life I understood why. It is something very important and that children do not receive today.
He adds, “I am a father of two daughters and am worried about the next generation, about our planet, about sustainability and about education.”
Jafri says that after spending six months last year making the Humanity’s journey – a work of art that broke the Guinness World Record for the largest canvas of art – charities told him that artists now associate their work with a charitable cause or with “doing something for the ‘humanity”.
“I believe that as human beings we have become incredibly disconnected which has led to Covid-19. The pandemic hit, something changed and an opportunity presented itself. A lot of sadness, a lot of lives lost, but an opportunity,” he said.
“A change took place at that time; unfortunately, this window closed and we returned to our habits, in ten times worse.
Jafri reveals that he sees his latest project as an opportunity to explore an important topic: how to enable humanity to reconnect?
“I tried to do it with The Journey of Humanity. I tried to do it all my life and it will be my mission for the next sixty years through my art,” he says.
“This project is an opportunity to shed light on our history, and what better way to do that than by being stewards of our heritage?”
“If we can pay homage to these sites, bring them to life in an artistic maze on the Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah heliport, it represents a lot of eyes on something very special. I hope this will shed some light on this issue and bring these sites to life for children and adults.”
The exhibition is open to everyone until March 27 by reservation. It will then tour the world centers for two years.
Jafri plans to create twenty additional paintings for the Paris exhibition, which will be held from September 12 to 18.
Ermanno Zanini, Regional Vice President and General Manager of the Burj Al-Arab, says, “I believe that art enriches the soul and can create transformational and intimate experiences.”
“Through our collaboration with Schaefer and Jafri, we give visitors the opportunity to be part of the captivating history of Burj Al-Arab and experience a unique exhibit in an exceptional setting,” he concludes.
This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com
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British artist Sacha Jafri inaugurates an exhibition for UNESCO in Dubai