Global Paint Shortage Now Mission Critical

Article by Missy Blingpunk

EDVILLE—Last week the international art world was all agog because British artist Sacha Jafri completed the largest painting ever—an homage to the pandemic era entitled The Journey of Humanity. The canvas measures roughly 1600 square metres, which is about the size of four football fields. As someone once said to Pablo Picasso after seeing his masterpiece Guernica, “Gee, Papa, that’s a big one.”

Coincidentally, those are the precise dimensions of the ballroom at the luxurious Atlantis Palm Hotel in Dubai, where Jafri was forced to subsist while painting his masterwork. The new owner of the painting—Andre Abdoune, a French national also living in Dubai—has since announced that, in addition to paying $78-million for the canvas, he intends to build a gallery so large that it can display the work in its entirety. What that structure will cost is anyone’s guess, but it won’t come cheap, either.

Normally, no one bothers to ask whether the tens of millions spent by the idle rich on artwork is socially virtuous. But Mr. Jafri is a talented self-promoter. Being 2021, he knows that pitching his big painting as a children’s charity initiative is a no-brainer. “I asked the children of the world to send in their artworks,” he recalls of the period when he was prepping The Journey of Humanity. “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.”

With all that empathy oozing out of the Atlantis Palm ballroom, no one has dared ask whether the painting is “any damn good” either, as local art critic Fergal Button put it. “Mr. Jafri calls his style magical realism, which makes you think of Canadian Alex Colville and the like,” Professor Button told the Gazette. “But to me The Journey of Humanity looks like a vast finger painting or something Jackson Pollock might have painted in junior high.”

One thing is certain. Mr. Jafri’s success is spawning imitators everywhere. Now that the key metric for artistic genius is gross tonnage, everyone is getting into the game.

Here in Edville, local pig farmers Earle and Tawny Bingle (pictured above) have painted the world’s largest jack pine on the front of their barn—an homage to A.Y. Jackson they’re hoping will bring in at least two or three million bucks.

Asked whether they intend to follow Mr. Jafri’s example and donate the proceeds of the sale to charity, the Bingles were non-committal. “The truth is, we put a lot of effort into this big painting, up there on the scaffold at all hours, and me with my cane,” said Mrs. Bingle. “But anyone who wants to buy this unique artwork can haul away the entire barn, if the price is right. We’ve no problem with that.”

“Quite right, Mother,” added Mr. Bingle. “Well said.”

Editor’s Note: An article from The Edville Gazette appears in Brighton Now once a week. There is also a podcast for your listening delight


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