Humanity’s captivation with space will likely never truly be satisfied—it’s something that has driven much of our wonder and endeavours for centuries and millennia, and only for a fraction of our time have we been able to explore it. It’s no wonder then that as a species we’re still attempting to make our mark on that unknowably vast frontier. And with his new work, We Rise Together — By the Light of the Moon, Sacha Jafri is hoping to do just that on Earth’s favourite satellite.
Sacha Jafri is an artist of monumental vision—noted easily in projects like The Journey of Humanity, the world’s largest painting at 0ver 17,000 square feet, which sold for $62 million in 2021. The Dubai-based artist’s work has a clear sense of play to it, highlighting the lighter side of humanity in vibrant, merging colours and messy, overlapping lines that evoke both early American abstract expressionism as well as mural and graffiti. While his record-breaking works certainly fetch hefty sums, Jafri is also known for his philanthropy, having raised $140 million for charity as of 2021.
We Rise Together blends both the pioneering and charitable nature of Jafri, and is certain to leave a mark for both the artist and humanity. An engraving on a gold alloy panel, the piece depicts two figures embracing in an intermingling of eighty-eight hearts and will be installed as the first official artwork on the moon. The mission to deliver and install the work will be accomplished by Spacebit and Astrobotic Technology Inc. While having been designed to help endure the harsh environment of the lunar surface, the design also evokes the medium by which humans first sent their mark into space, a la the golden-looking copper discs sent out on the Voyager series.
The eighty-eight hearts is also indicative of an additional layer of the project, helmed by Selenian, which will create eighty-eight NFTs of We Rise Together. Jafri intends to donate all proceeds from the sale of the NFTs to charities of “the four main charitable concerns of our world — health, education, sustainability, and equality.”
Certainly, We Rise Together breaks new ground for the arts and the future of space missions (of course, that part still means little for those without the bank accounts to enjoy such astronomical novelty). And while aspects of the project could ring of the vanity projects of Musk, Sacha Jafri certainly seems to have his heart in the right place, and his eyes to the cosmos.