Dubai-based artist Sacha Jafri’s latest project unveiled on Mount Everest

The Art Maze aims to reconnect humanity with heritage and cultural history in partnership with UNESCO

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Joydeep Sengupta

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 6:45 PM

On the International Mount Everest Day, which is celebrated on May 29, The Art Maze, by curator Marcus Schaefer, unveiled Dubai-based artist Sacha Jafri’s latest masterpiece on top of the world.

The Art Maze World Tour, in partnership with UNESCO, is a collection of 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, created by Jafri. The creative pursuit is a celebration of UNESCO world heritage sites’ 50th anniversary and The Next 50, a year-long United Nations’ (UN) campaign promoting interdisciplinary reflection on the future of the world heritage.

Jafri, who was awarded by the UN for his humanitarian work, unveiled his Sagarmatha National Park — Mount Everest painting, a spectacular 380cmx160cm three-canvas Triptych piece. He also launched a collection of 30 world heritage sites’ artwork masterpieces in a custom built 12-metre-by-12-metre labyrinth gallery — The Art Maze — a visionary project shining a light on the three pillars at the heart of UNESCO initiatives — education, science and culture.

Dubai hosted the launch of The Art Maze at the helipad of Burj Al Arab hotel, where art met architecture, from March 23 to 27. Jafri aims “to reconnect humanity to our cultural heritage, our ancestral past and the beauty that surrounds us within our natural world, as well as shine a light on the desperately needed conversations on sustainability, conservation, compassion we need to action for a more hopeful future for the children of our world”.

He weighs in on the project’s unique aspect. “It’s a unique venture for the UAE because this was launched on the helipad of Burj Al Arab hotel. It’s also the first time in history that the helipad of the iconic hotel, which is a shining example of Arab luxury, was shut for five days,” Jafri says.

Significantly, the event tried to connect the dots between Dubai and the UAE with global culture and heritage. It’s an image, Jafri says, isn’t necessarily linked to the young nation, which is more synonymous with glamour, glitz and luxury. “We want to draw attention to the heritage and the culture of the beautiful nation called the UAE and shine a light on the Art Maze, thousands of years of our heritage. The fusion is created in Dubai, a future-ready city,” says the celebrated artist. “The moot point is to showcase the importance of global culture. We must retain our own identity and at the same time appreciate that of others as we move forward to the next 50.”

“In a world where the metaverse is becoming more of a reality, and where online and physical living is fully integrated, this project is about reconnecting humanity to the beauty that surrounds us, within our natural world, by re-establishing links with our heritage and cultural history,” he adds.

Schaefer, an art visionary and a curator, says, “Feeling such a strong connection to this great country, we’re so excited to unveil Sacha Jafri’s latest painting with the people of Nepal at the majestic Mount Everest.”

Michael Croft, Head of Office and Representative to Nepal at UNESCO, says, “As we listen to communities from the mountain regions and hear their perspective on tackling the dual challenges of climate change and sustainable tourism, we’re at once motivated — and better informed — how best to fashion our own actions for change.”

He adds, “UNESCO’s partnership with The Art Maze and Jafri reinforces its mission of promoting inclusive, interdisciplinary dialogues related to climate change, heritage conservation, sustainable tourism, and the challenges these sites face in the context of climate change.” In Nepal, UNESCO is working to bring together mountain community leaders as part of The Next 50 dialogues.

Raza Beig, founder of BoredPuma, says, “So excited to be able to announce my purchase of this monumental painting. Now, I own a piece of a living master, Sacha Jafri, but also, the artistic expression of the world’s largest natural beauty, Mount Everest.” In honour of the cause, Jafri is producing a signature print collection for art lovers who are keen to own a piece of his humanitarian journey.

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