Dubai artist Sacha Jafri’s heart-shaped artwork to land on moon in Bezos-backed space mission


Dubai-based artist Sacha Jafri on Wednesday revealed his artwork that will travel to the Moon on the 50th anniversary of Nasa’s Apollo 16 mission.

The heart-shaped art —titled We Rise Together – with the Light of the Moon — was literally a labour of love as it had to undergo ‘“at least 40 iterations” before being finalised, the panel of collaborators said during the media briefing held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s US Pavilion.

The British artist used an aerospace-grade aluminum gold plate as his canvas for the artwork, making it fully resilient to lunar conditions and allowing it to last an eternity on the Moon.

On the golden plate is a big heart made up of little hearts and uplifting messages like: “From the darkness comes the light” and “In beauty we live”.

Speaking about his out-of-this-world art mission, Jaaid, “It gives us eternal reverence, humility and presence on our Moon and reflects all of humanity — and with this project we will make a change in this world.”

He added: “This is a really a big moment because Nasa will take us to the Moon with the partners by the end of this year in celebration of their 50th anniversary. I was approached by Selenian, Spacebit and others for this project. It’s not easy to accomplish this, but it will be achieved this year. For me it’s very personal.”

Creating the piece called for the symbiosis of art and engineering. From the artistic side to the tech aspect, the team had to overcome a series of challenges.

Pavlo Tanasyuk, founder and CEO of Spacebit, said: “First of all, (its destination is) a different environment. You are exposed to radiation, extreme temperatures day and night, from 130 degrees Celsius during the day to almost minus 173 degrees Celsius at night. You must use space-grade technology for the art, so it can survive for thousands of years. That was the biggest challenge.”

It’s not feasible to use the same paint or materials that are typically used on Earth, he added. “It was collaboration between the artist trying to see what would be the role of the scientific elements and how it will be applied so that we can create a meaningful piece of art. I believe what we have created is a milestone in engineering and art,” Tanasyuk said.


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It also required several tests and procedures of certifications. “The artwork had to undergo vibration tests, checking the frequency to ensure that it does not disintegrate during the launch. There have been days of testing. Using special ultrasonic waves, beaming in complete silence in special rooms to see what kind of frequencies you get back from the plate. So, all the materials needed to be tested for the mission,” he added.

The ‘We Rise Together – with the Light of the Moon’ artwork will be placed alongside Nasa scientific payloads, along with other instruments and technologies.

Once Jafri’s artwork reaches Moon, its landing site will then become a world heritage landmark preserved forever.

The artwork will be placed on the Moon with the help of Selenian, a pioneering UAE company that specialises in the curation of art in space, in collaboration with Spacebit, Astrobotic, and Nasa, through its commercial lunar payload services (CLPS) initiative.

James Khazaei, co-founder of Selenian, said: “The mission of Selenian is very simple. Make a difference and impact to the world. Only few space technologies can go into the Moon. We wanted to find out…first, is it achievable? Second, can we make an impact on humanity? Finally, can we leave a legacy?… absolutely. To tick those three boxes were the main reasons that Selenian was founded.”

A percentage of the funds raised from the Moon mission will go to different charities that focus on equality, sustainability, education, and health.

The painted hearts, dubbed Jafri ‘Moonheart NFTs,’ will be released to the world as non-fungible tokens (NFT) or digital assets, commemorating each stage of the mission.

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