A Painting by British artist Jonathan Yeo of Malala Yousafzai the Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner has sold at auction for $82,000 (£49,000) at a New York auction. Yousafzai, who is now just 16-year-old was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for actively protesting that girls should be educated.
The realistically painted portrait was exhibited at London’s National Portrait Gallery. It was a centrepiece in Yeo’s solo exhibition of portraits at the central London gallery last year. The exhibition also included depictions of artists Damien Hirst and Grayson Perry. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Malala Fund.
Yeo stated that 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,” he added.
The schoolgirl is shown 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”. The Malala Fund said sale proceeds would be given to Nigerian charities focused on education and advocacy for women and girls in the wake of the kidnapping of more than 250 girls by Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.
Malala said in a statement last week that she was “shocked and saddened” when she heard the schoolgirls had been taken. “I am very concerned about these innocent girls – my sisters – whose only crime was going to school and learning. I believe it is our duty to stand together in solidarity with their parents, families and relatives,” she said.