Edmilson with the ball signed by Messi and designed by Murakami. / VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB

Més de 200 persones han assistit a la subhasta en la seu londinenca de Sotheby’s / VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB

The long awaited auction for the ‘1 in 11’ project took place on Thursday evening with great success as around 3 million Euros were raised for Unicef educational projects to promote education via sport in Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. The aim is to contribute to reducing the figure of 58 million children who are without the opportunity to go to school, an average of 1 in every 11 children in the world.

The auction was attended by representatives from Unicef and Rota and on behalf of FC Barcelona, vice presidents of the Foundation Ramon Pont and Ramon Cierco, as well as the member of the board of directors Silvio Elias and former Barça player José Edmílson.

Blaugrana works of art

The artists that took part in this charity auction were invited to donate one of their existing works or create a new one inspired by Barça. Three of the artists, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and Francesco Vezzoli opted for the second option.

Leo Messi, the face of the ‘1 in 11’ project, is the main focus of two of the artistic creations. The first sees the Argentine as the subject of Tokyo artist Takashi Murakami’s work ‘Lionel Messi and a universe of flowers’ (2014), in which the Barça number 10 appears surrounded by flowers known as ‘Kaikai Kiki’, typical in the works of the Japanese artist. Murakami also designed a special football for the event that was signed by Leo Messi and also formed part of the auction.

Secondly. the Barça number 10 has also been the inspiration for the ‘Beautiful spinning painting of Messi for 1 in 11’ (2014), the work of no less than Damien Hirst, one of the most highly valued living artists in the world.

Finally, the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli took inspiration in the figure of Gerard Piqué and the classical world to create his work ‘Portrait of Gerard Piqué as the Apollo of Belvedere.’ The artist has reproduced the face of the Barça defender on a bust of the sculpture of the Apollo of Belvedere.

Aside from paintings, the catalogue was also honoured with works in glass, in furniture and photography that have been donated by international figures such as Cai Guo Qiang, Dia Azzawi, El Seed, Etel Adnan, Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, Luc Tuymans, Manal Al Dowayan, Marc Newson, Richard Serra, Shirin Neshat, Wael Shawky, Yan Pei-Ming and Yousef Ahmad.

GÉRARD BOUQUENET, Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships, UNICEF

“Everyone participating in '1 in 11' — the FC Barcelona foundation as well as Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and Unicef — are absolutely thrilled with the amount raised by the auction. All children, wherever they live, have the right to learn, play, and grow. Tonight, art and football have joined together in a unique partnership to help ensure that more children can enjoy those rights."

RAMON PONT, Vice-president of the FCB Foundation

"It was extraordinary. It's a spectacular number, and we are very happy. For the FCB Foundation, the alliance with UNICEF is a priority and, for this reason, we are very satisfied with the reach of '1 in 11' — which today is at its peak. Values are a universal language and sport is a perfect bullhorn. This project is at the behest of this cause. The auction today in London is a victory for those who believe in sport as a social tool. It is a game in which the Foundation and Unicef never be defeated. Sotheby's has high expectations. But today, in addition to the artworks and the stars who have inspired them, the true protagonists are the children of Nepal, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, who will find it easier to go to school and fulfil their dreams."

JOSÉ EDMÍLSON, ex-player of FC Barcelona

"The fundraising was fantastic. These works of art are wonderful. The artists are at the same level as Barça's players, because they really are that good. Messi is a good inspiration because he's been doing huge things — supernatural things — at Barça for ten years. He has inspired some brilliant paintings."