100 Million Meals: An auction for humanity in Dubai

Dubai - Mona Kattan, Sacha Jafri, Sima Ved were among those who put their money where their heart is to help provide meals to the needy as part of the ‘100 Million Meals’ Live charity art auction.


Suneeti Ahuja Kohli

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Published: Sun 25 Apr 2021, 7:09 PM

The ‘100 Million Meals’ Live charity art auction held in Dubai on Saturday demonstrated the extraordinary level at which the art world can contribute to charitable causes. The charity auction recorded a sell-out of all valuable items, raising over Dh36.67 million, which will help provide 36,673,000 meals to the needy in 20 countries throughout the holy month of Ramadan.


British-Indian artist Sacha Jafri addressing the bidders (Photos/Neeraj Murali)
British-Indian artist Sacha Jafri addressing the bidders (Photos/Neeraj Murali)
Bidders looking at art at the auction.
Bidders looking at art at the auction.

The event with its emotional appeal and cause attracted significant bidding and celebrities from all industries. Talking exclusively to City Times, Mona Kattan, Co-founder & global president, Huda Beauty, said, “This event was incredibly important to me as it’s supporting such an amazing initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and I’m so grateful that he has made it so easy to create a huge impact by sharing one meal for only one dirham. This makes it easy for everyone to participate! Even if you only have ten dirhams to spare, you can help feed 10 people. How amazing! When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed puts his mind to anything, he makes it happen and I know through his commitment and strong alliances, we are going to help end world hunger with his mission and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

Mona was successful at two bids. She purchased the Pablo Picasso Gold Medallions for $235,000, and also a painting by David Hockney for $95,000. “They are absolutely amazing and to have a piece of Picasso is such an honour!” she said.

While talking about Dubai’s evolving art space, Mona said, “I think Dubai is definitely becoming a hub not only for art collectors but also, for art creators. Dubai is the new melting pot of the world, and its diversity of culture is so inspiring. I’ve seen Dubai grow so much over the past 20 years and it amazes me to see how much the arts and culture scene has flourished. It’s so exciting and I can only imagine where we will be in five years from now!”

Mona Kattan’s sister, beauty mogul Huda Kattan, too has donated generously to the 100 Million Meals initiative of the Dubai government by pledging to donate one million meals.

Art in the UAE

The exclusive auction, organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) in collaboration with Maupy Auction, had on display a piece of Kaaba cover from the personal collection of Sheikh Mohammed, and rare works by many of the art world’s greatest contemporary masters including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, and David Hockney. It also had on display artwork and memorabilia by British artist Sacha Jafri, who helped raise more than $6.35 million for the 100 Million Meals campaign.

“It was the first time I met Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture). It was a great privilege to have her sign my painting. The UAE has great plans moving forward in the art. I think the next five years could be very interesting with the creative visa and the huge financial injection into what they call the creative economy, the development of Al Quoz — all the different ideas that are brewing at the moment. I had a little insight into those tonight and it is exciting,” said Jafri on the sidelines of the event on Saturday.

Talking about the campaign, Jafri added, “There is a lot of work to do to end world hunger. You can feed people for a week, but what happens the week after. There is a lot to do. But through this campaign they (Dubai government) are partnering with the best guys there are including the UN Food program. To end world hunger by 2030 is an ambitious goal, but it can be done, especially by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, a man who is a visionary. He can cut through all the bureaucracy of countries and the corruption we face, work closely with the UN Food Programme, and deliver the food to the right places. This will make a huge difference. The campaign will send a very powerful message to the world.”

Jafri had on display a set of his clothes he wore while painting the world’s largest canvas in Dubai last year. The set served as memorabilia items and fetched $450,000. On display were also two painting: A new hope — A child’s prayer, and a collaborative artwork, The Road to the Journey of Humanity, which was commissioned by the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign, and has the signature of Sheikha Latifa, and hand prints and signatures of several celebrities including Florian Picasso, the great grandson of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eva Longoria, Steve Harvey, Maria Bravo, and Roger Federer, Boris Becker, Amir Khan and Marjorie Harvey. The painting fetched $4.2 million.

Dubai serves as a window

Vikram Shroff, Director UPL Group, and his wife, Namrata Shroff, placed successful bids for ‘The Swallow’ — two rare drawings by late South African President Nelson Mandela. “Dubai is a beautiful city which actually supports a lot of amazing causes and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is a global leader in philanthropy. His cause of a 100 Million Meals is very very dear for me. I am from India where we see a lot of poverty. So this cause is very close to my heart. Me and wife were very happy to come and participate. We got Nelson Mandela’s artwork, which for me is a very powerful piece of art, because it is from one of the most amazing people who ever lived, most positive human being, and I am very proud of supporting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s cause,” said Vikram Shroff.

“Dubai has emerged as a place that is accessible by all art investors, artists, it is almost at the centre of the world, where all can gather and get this done. During the pandemic, Dubai has been the only open window and apart from that, Dubai has this plush value, there is a lot of out-of-box art that also gets to see the light of the day, which does not happen in many other parts of the world. I would say, Dubai is becoming the heart of art,” added Namrata Shroff.

Serving humanity

Sima Ved, Founder and Chairwoman of the Apparel Group, picked up Salvador Dali’s Etude de visages: Madonna, enfant et profile d’homme — a study of faces, including a Madonna, child and man for $110,000. “I came here to support the cause, and also people who are dear to me. Philanthropreneur and Founder of Global Gift Foundation, Maria Bravo, is a good friend and she is also the organiser for this event. I have two Sachas (Sacha Jafri’s artworks) already, so I had to be here to support him,” said Ved, adding, “Feeding children is the first step towards building a compassionate and tolerant world. Only when our children are well fed can we move on to the next important goal of educating them.”

On Dubai’s art space, Ved said, “The city is doing a phenomenal job having brought in internationally acclaimed artists like the medallions of Piccaso, Mattis, Dali. I don’t think we could have thought of these names earlier.”

The auction was hosted by Jonny Gould and the event was attended by industry leaders and celebrities.

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