It's not often that you see a work by the Hollywood actor Will Smith appear in an auction alongside works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and David Hockney. But in Dubai, anything goes.
This Saturday, 24 April, the UAE-based Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) is holding a charity auction at Dubai's Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, to raise money for its "100 Million Meals" campaign. The project aims to "provide 100 million meals for disadvantaged individuals and families in 26 countries during the holy month of Ramadan," according to a statement.
It's a diverse line-up to say the least. The first lot is donated by none other than Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is described as "one of his most personal and holy artefacts"—part of the embroidered cloth used to cover the holy Kaaba in Mecca. The 1m sq. gold and silver embroidered silk fragment has a guide price of $15m.
There are works on paper by David Hockney, Joan Miro, Nelson Mandela and Salvador Dali, plus gold medallions by Pablo Picasso (no information is given about who donated these).
And then there is Will Smith's contribution: the actor has collaborated with the Dubai-based British artist Sacha Jafri to contribute his hand-prints and signature as an added layer to one of Jafri's canvas panels, created in the lead-up to his The Journey of Humanity painting which sold for an eyebrow-raising $62m in March in another charity auction in Dubai. That was more than 900 times Jafri's existing auction record. Titled The Journey of Humanity—With Love we are Reconnected, Inspired, Re-Energized, the canvas panel is estimated, confidently, at a huge $10m to $12.5m.
Jafri's paint daubed clothes, used while painting The Journey of Humanity, are also up for sale—yours for just $800,000 to $1.2m.