14 February 2014
'Mickey’ was auctioned in aid of Kids Company as part of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Thursday 13 February. During the auction, Christie's staff wore Mickey Mouse ears to see the painting raise over £900,000 for Kids Company. Camila stated: "Some childlike magic happened here tonight. £902,500 was generated through the sale of Damien Hirst's painting and, in reality, Mickey came to the rescue of some of the most vulnerable children. This money will change lives." Based in London and established in 1996, the charity provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. Hirst has supported Kids Company for over seven years and is a longtime advocate of their use of art therapy. In an interview with The Observer, Camila explained: "What happens to traumatised children is they freeze often in shock and one of the first things that goes is their verbal abilities to describe the situation," working with art therapists, the hope is that these children can eventually "start showing the trauma through the art materials… and they tend to have very powerful, emotional pieces that come almost from the bleakest spaces that they've gone to".
Hirst remade Mickey Mouse on the invitation of Disney as one of his iconic series of spot paintings. Hirst follows in the footsteps of artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg in interpreting Disney's best-loved character. He comments, “Mickey Mouse represents happiness and the joy of being a kid and I have reduced his shape down to the basic elements of a few simple spots. I hope people love it, because it is still instantly recognisable - Mickey is such a universal and powerful icon."
Hirst and Camila Batmanghelidjh in conversation with The Observer's Elizabeth Day.
Spin painting in Covent Garden footage directed by Nathalie Murphy © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, 2012