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British painter donates Malala portrait for auction

British painter donates Malala portrait for auction

NEW YORK: A portrait of Malala Yousafzai is being sold by its British artist to help further her cause of education.

Jonathan Yeo, a leading British portraitist, painted Malala in 2013 shortly after she started attending a school in Birmingham, England, where she now lives.

The painting hung in the National Portrait Gallery in London last year for an exhibition of Yeo’s portraits of well-known figures, including Sienna Miller, Kevin Spacey and Rupert Murdoch.

Christie’s auction house is offering the Malala portrait, which shows the teenager doing her homework, on Wednesday. It has a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. Yeo said he would donate all the proceeds to The Malala Fund.

“I hope it goes to a good home. Anyone who will hopefully spend a good bit of money on it is someone who sees the importance of her own work,” the artist said.

Malala was 15 when she was shot in 2012 as she travelled to her school in Swat. President Barack Obama has called her the “bravest girl in the world”.

“In an interview last week, Yeo said he wanted the portrait to capture “this extraordinary dichotomy” of someone with “enormous power and wisdom” but also someone who is still very young.

“Her birth instinct isn’t self-pity but rather what else she could do to help other girls in her position,” Yeo added. He said he spent “a lot of time chatting” with her and “hearing her world views and what her life is like” before sitting down to paint her.

Yeo depicted her doing homework to reflect the irony that “the simple everyday thing she’s doing was what created the cataclysmic change in her life that nearly killed her,” he said.

When the portrait was finished Yeo said Malala told him “it’s how she sees herself.

“Yeo is famous for his life-like portraits of well-known figures. His works are also in the Royal Collection.


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