Cover The Journey of Humanity by Sacha Jafri has sold at auction for US$62 million. (Photo: Getty Images)

The record-breaking charitable initiative sold for more than double what it had set out to raise—with proceeds going to a myriad of global organisations including UNICEF and UNESCO

The world’s largest painting, The Journey of Humanity (2020), sold for a record-breaking US$62 million at an auction held at Atlantis, The Palm hotel in Dubai earlier this week. The sale is said to be the most expensive artwork by a living artist ever to be sold at auction.

Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the 17,000 square foot painting was created by artist Sacha Jafri in response to the global pandemic and the suffering and resilience that the world has collectively endured over the past year.

“I was stuck in Dubai and I wanted to create something poignant, something that would mean something,” the British artist told CNN on a video call prior to completing the work. “Something that could potentially make a really big difference.”

The finished painting features an abundance of work submitted online from children across the globe subtly mixed into the brushwork and drip-painting of Jafri’s own signature abstract style. The theme is meant to encompass the connection, separation, and isolation we’ve all felt throughout the pandemic with the childrens’ contributions pointing out a much different perspective.

“I asked the children of the world to send in their artworks—how they feel now, their emotions,” Jafri explained. “We, as adults, are finding this hard. We found the last five months very difficult, very confusing, very frustrating and quite scary. But imagine how a 4-year-old child feels.”

Jafri had originally stated that the initiative would aim to raise about US$30M by selling off individual panels, which would go to help the “poorest children of the world” with education, connectivity, health and sanitation.

Instead, it was sold as one very, very large work of art to Andre Abdoune, chief executive of Altius Gestion International Holding for more than double the intended goal. The proceeds are set to go toward a variety of global organisations, including UNICEF, UNESCO, the United Arab Emirite’s Ministry of Education, and the Global Gift Foundation.

See also: Artwork By Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama And More Will Be On Display In Hong Kong This March