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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Project Perpetual and Jeff Koons to raise funds through art

Artist Jeff Koons poses next to one of his sculptures at “eff Koons: A Retrospective, an exhibition of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. (AFP / Timothy A. Clary)
Artist Jeff Koons poses next to one of his sculptures at “eff Koons: A Retrospective, an exhibition of his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. (AFP / Timothy A. Clary)

A new art-philanthropy initiative has teamed up with the United Nations to help provide vaccines for children in developing countries.

Project Perpetual begins in November with an auction to debut new works by Jeff Koons, whose Balloon Dog was sold at auction for US$58.4m last year making him the most valuable living artist in the world.

Speaking exclusively to The National, Koons says: “The donation of these objects, and the relationship that everybody has with Project Perpetual, show that we are all aware of the [vaccination] problem and that it’s life-changing. There is a bout of consciousness experienced through being able to make a greater commitment, to be able to become not only a better individual, but to become a better citizen, a better person within a world community – not only making a life better but saving it.”

Koons’ new art works featured in this first edition will be made, in part, from luxury handbags donated by renowned designers and dignitaries including Sofia Coppola, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, Clara Kuo, Almine Ruiz-Picasso and Countess Daniela Memmo D’Amelio.

From the UAE, Reem Beljafla, an Emirati abaya designer, has also donated a handbag to the cause.

Koons’ main work will be a singular plaster sculpture. The auction will also include additional luxury handbags customised by Koons and sold as individual lots.

Founded by Svetlana Kuzmicheva-Uspenskaya, an art collector, Project Perpetual is an attempt to fuse the energy of contemporary art and the power of global influencers to help those most in need.

In its first year, Project Perpetual will support the United Nations Foundation’s work to fight measles, pneumonia, polio, and rotavirus through the Shot@Life campaign. Funds will be allocated to combat measles as well as advocating the global importance of vaccination.

“Project Perpetual’s support will provide children around the world with much-needed access to life-saving vaccines,” says Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. “The participation of one of today’s most prominent artists, Jeff Koons, and so many well-known influencers, gives us a significant opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of children most in need.”

There will be an auction of the works, led by Simon de Pury, on Sunday, November 9, in New York. All proceeds will benefit the United Nations Foundation.

* For more information, visit www.projectperpetual.org, www.shotatlife.org, or www.measlesrubellainitiative.org.