Sacha Jafri stands on his record-breaking painting entitled 'The Journey of Humanity.'
British artist Sacha Jafri paces barefoot back and forth across his giant canvas stretched across the ballroom floor of a Dubai hotel, listening to a young girl singing.
She performed Friday on the almost-completed canvas measuring just under 2,000 square metres (20,000 sq feet), before it is broken down next week into 60 framed works.
His goal is to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest art canvas and raise $30 million to fund health and education initiatives for children in impoverished parts of the world.
The 44-year-old contemporary artist says he hopes to double that amount when parts of his "Journey of Humanity" work go up for auction in February 2021.
"They will own a piece of the largest painting ever created, but more than that they'll own a piece of history and, ultimately, humanity," Jafri, in paint-splattered jeans and shirt, told AFP.
For seven months and at a pace of 18-20 hours a day, Jafri has been working on his latest creation with almost 300 layers of paint, using 1,400 gallons (more than 5,000 litres) and about 1,000 brushes.
"It's been a big journey," he said.
"It depicts the soul of the Earth, nature, humanity itself, 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," Jafri said.
The artist said coronavirus has focused his efforts towards connecting people to counter its impact on children.
Children from 140 countries submitted paintings online to be included in Jafri's creation with its eight "portals".
"I paste those into the circular portals ... I want to take us to a better world through the hearts, minds and souls of our children," said Jafri.
The children's paintings depicted their own journeys, with many drawing a spikey ball representing the disease.
"Imagine what ... people can do if we actually stopped all the nonsense and realised one world, one soul, one planet," said Jafri, who has four more days to complete the work.
For the day's last show on the canvas, girls and boys performed an acrobatic, interpretive dance to John Lennon's "Imagine", with Jafri on the sidelines giving encouragement.
"Completely intertwine with what's in front of you. Become one," he appealed.
Kristel Bechara, a Dubai-based Lebanese artist, has been creating artwork for over a decade. Her Beauty in Diversity collection aims to highlight that differences between individuals is what makes them unique.
The online drawing and painting classes are taken by Saira Riaz, an award- winning artist specialising in charcoal, oil and acrylic painting, with equal expertise in Arabic Calligraphy.
A Texan widow who discovered a love for French art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s is to donate another part of her vast collection of 19th-century masterpieces to France.
Participating galleries reported buoyant sales, with an overall sales rate of 77 per cent. Many works with listed prices from $15,000 – $65,000 sold in the first hours of the fair.
Alira will head the jury in the talent competition category at 5:30pm as part of the day-long Filipino fest on Oct.23, which also features a pop-up market, Philippine crafts workshop and exhibit, fashion show and clothes swap.
The first meeting of the network was held at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah last year and was attended by 16 representatives from most of the Unesco-designated World Book Capital cities.