Idris Khan speaks to Artsy about his new work for Make-A-Wish UK’s fundraising gala

Children's Make-A-Wish Dreams Inspire New Artworks by Leading Artists 


By Casey Lesser


Six-year-old Grace yearned to go on holiday in Wales with her pony; nine-year-old Nicole wanted to have her own painting exhibition at a gallery; seven-year-old Felix dreamed of becoming Electroman, a superhero with electric powers. These wishes represent just three from over 11,000 children who, since 1986, have had their greatest desires realized through Make-A-Wish UK. The non-profit—which was founded in the United States in 1980, and now has branches across the world—specializes in creating bespoke experiences to inspire hope and optimism in kids, ages three to 17, who are suffering from life-threatening medical conditions.


This fall’s Make-A-Wish UK fundraising gala is especially high-profile, with an array of famous artists lending a hand, including Tracey Emin, Rob Pruitt, Eddie Martinez, and Gillian Wearing. Make-A-Wish patron and art collector Batia Ofer coordinated with leading London galleries and auction houses to commission 18 artists to create new works inspired by individual Make-A-Wish children. The culminating event, The Art of Wishes Fundraising Gala, will take place on October 2nd at the Dorchester Hotel in London; the newly commissioned works will be shown at the Serpentine Galleries on October 1st and are being sold to benefit the charity through an online auction.


Khan’s work, titled A wish for Moon, Stars and Planets (2017), is an expressive gray canvas covered with words. “I made an oil background a few years ago by pouring oil paint down the paper over and over again and it made an interesting shape at the bottom; it looked like a tree trunk,” Khan explains. “I started writing the words ‘moon,’ ‘stars,’ and ‘planets’ over and over, and they started to look like branches of trees. I thought there was something nice about a child’s wish being caught in an abstract image of a tree. I am so humbled by what Make-A-Wish does, and I’m so happy that hopefully this piece can raise some money towards helping children like Matthew realize their wishes.”


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Image: Idris Khan, A wish for Moon, Stars and Planets, 2017. © Idris Khan, courtesy of Victoria Miro.

Artsy Posted September 19 2017

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