Watch: Dubai-based Sacha Jafri reconnects humanity through world heritage in Paris exhibit

Part of Unesco's 50th anniversary celebration, the artist displayed sculptural artworks with the fuselage from the outer skin of a decommissioned Airbus A320-211 as his canvas


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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
by

Joydeep Sengupta

Published: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 7:30 PM

Marcus Schaefer, a global art curator, brought to life another ground-breaking concept to exhibit Sacha Jafri’s precocious talent at the Unesco’s headquarters in Paris between September 18 and 30.

The exhibition was in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention under the theme The Next 50: World Heritage as a source of resilience, humanity and innovation and inviting the world to imagine our relationship with, and responsibility for, heritage in the face of rising global challenges.

Jafri, who has been living in Dubai for over a decade and whose works have been exhibited in the world's most prominent art institutions alongside Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali, Joan Joan Miró i Ferrà, Jeff Koons and Jackson Pollock, to name but a few, was at his creative best in Paris.

He displayed sculptural artworks suspended from the ceiling, with the fuselage from the outer skin of a decommissioned Airbus A320-211 as his canvas — part of an upcycling initiative and aligning with Schaefer’s aim to exhibit art outside the confines of the traditional gallery space.

The aircraft has travelled the world taking passengers to these sites for several decades and now, instead of being scrapped, it has a new life as Jafri’s 12 sculptural art works, celebrating those same sites and continuing the journey as an everlasting legacy for the cultural heritage of our world.

Jafri aims to inspire the general public with a new meaning of the love and appreciation of our colorful and fragile world, rooted in his conviction that reflections, dialogues, empathy and collaborative efforts are needed for its conservation and for a better future for the children of our world. It is the first time the collection will welcome pieces of Jafri’s Art Maze Collection for general viewing by the wider public.

Jafri, who was awarded by the United Nations (UN) for his humanitarian work and regarded as one of the world’s most important living artists, aims to reconnect humanity to our cultural heritage, 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, empathy, and compassion — his hope for a better future for our planet and humanity at large.

Jafri explained the novel concept behind his artistic creation.

“Expanding this special collection to create more sculptural pieces onto the fuselage of an Airbus A320 has been a really exciting and meaningful process for me. Painting from the subconscious and in a deep meditative state I travelled to each place trying to capture the spirit and the soul of the site itself as well as the people that lived there; in a state of surrender, with purified intentions, aiming to tap in to something greater than myself and encourage the viewer to find magic in the overfamiliar, to reconnect to themselves, eachother, our creator, and ultimately to ‘The Soul of the Earth’ ”.

Schaefer echoed Jafri. “Giving this aircraft, which connected the world for decades, a second life through pieces of Jafri’s Art Maze Collection that have been created with the same objective, just feels like a further natural step into the right direction for me. I’ve always been passionate about touching and connecting people through art in unconventional ways. To shine a light on heritage sites around the world with this exhibition at the Unesco headquarters in Paris is a great honour for us all.”

Earlier this year, The Art Maze was unveiled on the iconic Burj Al Arab Helipad in Dubai and the exhibition was extended by popular demand.

The Art Maze World Tour, in partnership with Unesco, is underway in its epic journey to all four corners of the world, as part of the UN body’s inclusive celebration of “The Next 50”.

In April, as part of the World Tour, Jafri’s latest artwork in The Art Maze Collection, Sagarmatha National Park, was unveiled on Mount Everest, Nepal, as the first painting to ever be unveiled on the highest point on earth.

In honour of this cause, Jafri is producing a signature print collection for art lovers who are keen to own a piece of his humanitarian journey. They can be found at: www.https://collection.theartmaze.com/.

One of Jafri's pieces from his Heritage Site’s Collection — his stunning depiction of Notre Dame painted on a cut fuselage from an Airbus A320 — was added to Unesco’s rich collection and finds a pride of place alongside Picasso, Miró i Ferrà, Henry Moore, and Alberto Giacometti's work.

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