Help The Hungry: Which star will you bid for in Sir Peter Blake’s big hotel cover auction?

Mandarin Oriental artwork to be sold off square by celebrity square to boost Felix Project

Lizzie Edmonds
Friday 12 June 2020 19:09
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Sir Peter Blake stands in front of his mural, which was used to cover the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge during its refurbishment
Sir Peter Blake stands in front of his mural, which was used to cover the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge during its refurbishment

Sections of Sir Peter Blake’s artwork Our Fans, which features the likes of Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith, are being auctioned off to raise money for The Independent’s Help The Hungry campaign.

The mural – which echoes Sir Peter’s 1967 artwork for The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – was draped over the London Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge during its 2017 renovation.

The work, the largest piece ever created by Sir Peter, is the size of 38 London buses and was commissioned by London Advertising.

Starting today, each of the 100 faces that feature in the work – also including Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg and two Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr – will be auctioned off for two beneficiaries, including The Independent’s campaign appeal partner The Felix Project.

The other beneficiary is the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation, powered by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

Each “fragment” will feature a celebrity’s face and will measure about 1.2m by 2m. All the famous faces, including a picture of Sir Peter, are “fans” of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

Each fragment will be signed by the artist and auctioned on Bidsquare, with bids starting at £325. The auction will be live until midnight on 26 June.

The idea originated when London Advertising approached Sir Peter about the project as it wanted to use the mural to raise money for organisations helping people during the pandemic.

Sir Peter, who also designed artwork for Paul Weller, Ian Dury and The Who, said: “I’m very happy that the Mandarin Oriental mural can be used a second time to raise money for such a wonderful purpose. I do all kinds of areas of work but one of them is to make crowds of people.

“It is in that vein. It is in the spirit of the Sergeant Pepper idea. This is probably the largest thing I’ve done. It was an amazing project for an amazing hotel.”

Michael Moszynski, chief executive of London Advertising, said: “If you would like to own a unique piece of cultural history by the grandfather of pop art, I would very much encourage you to bid generously.”

Jill Kluge, chief marketing officer for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, added: “We are delighted to support this idea to auction Peter Blake’s fine work of art for another good cause.”

Sir Peter signs one of the squares from his mural

Evgeny Lebedev, shareholder of the Evening Standard and The Independent, said: “I have been moved by how art and artists have acted as a force for good during this crisis. Sir Peter Blake has been a brilliant supporter of our charity appeal. I hope people support this extraordinary initiative.”

You can bid here.

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry during the crisis – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.

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