Malala portrait to auction at Christie’s


A one of a kind portrait of education and peace activist Malala Yousafzai will be sold at auction at Christie’s in New York.

The painting called “Girl Reading (Malala Yousafzai)” was created by British artist Jonathan Yeo in 2013. It will be sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on May 14.

The money from the sale will go to benefit the Malala Fund, which advocates for girls’ education.

During a preview of the sale on Thursday, Saara Pritchard, Associate Vice President and Specialist in the Contemporary Art Department at Christie’s in New York said “I think it’s very evident for anyone who sees this painting that this is a very young and beautiful girl, but also one who is very powerful and that is in particular conveyed by her eyes and her gaze which is completely captivating as you stand before this incredible work.”

In 2012, Malala was 15 years old when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating the right of girls to go to school.

In the two years since her shooting, she has not backed down. Malala has been honored with awards and praise from people around the world and has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

During a meeting between Malala and Jonathan Yeo, the teenager asked Yeo to explain how he created the portrait.

“You saw me two times only and you just drew a sketch. So I just would like to know like how you did this painting only by looking at a sketch or taking some pictures. Because I was not there when you were painting it,” Malala asked.

Yeo explained, “The sketches we did and the photographs were all very useful and important. But the other thing that’s important is spending a bit of time with somebody and getting a sense of their personality in a way that informs the whole mood of the painting and what you are saying with it. In a way that is the most important thing of all.”

In the painting Malala is reading a book and the name Malalai of Maiwand is written on a page. Malala explained the significance of the name Malalai.

“Malalai in Maiwand fought for the freedom of the people of Afghanistan in 1800. And she was a very brave woman. My father named me after her. She fought for freedom. And this time we are here fighting for education, fighting for equality.”

“Which is the freedom of our era, I suppose,” said Yeo.

Jonathan Yeo’s painting of Malala was recently on display at the London National Portrait Gallery.

In New York, the public can view the painting at Christie’s from May 2 through May 13.

On May 14, Christie’s estimates the painting will sell for between $60,000 and $80,000. –