Jonathan Yeo's Malala portrait brings $102,500

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 5:06 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A British artist's portrait of a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education has brought in more than $100,000 at auction.

Christie's says the painting of Malala Yousafzai (mah-LAH'-lah YOO'-suhf-zeye) by Jonathan Yeo (yoh) sold for $102,500 on Wednesday, including the buyer's premium.

Yeo painted Yousafzai in 2013 after she started attending a school in Birmingham, England, where she now lives.

The sale proceeds are going to the Malala Fund charity. The fund said the money would in turn be given to Nigerian nonprofits that focus on education for women and girls in the wake of the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolgirls in that country.

Yeo is famous for life-like portraits of well-known figures, including Sienna Miller, Kevin Spacey and Rupert Murdoch.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A portrait of a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education is being sold by its British artist to help further her cause.

Jonathan Yeo, a leading British portraitist, painted Malala Yousafzai in 2013 shortly after she started attending a school in Birmingham, England, where she now lives.

The painting hung in the National Portrait Gallery in London last year for an exhibition of Yeo's portraits of well-known figures including Sienna Miller, Kevin Spacey and Rupert Murdoch.

Christie's auction house is offering the Malala portrait, which shows the teenager doing her homework, on Wednesday. It has a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.

Yeo's said he will donate all the proceeds to The Malala Fund.

"I hope it goes to a good home. Anyone who will hopefully spend a good bit of money on it is someone who sees the importance of her own work," the artist said.

Malala was 15 when she was shot in 2012 as she traveled to her Pakistani school. President Barack Obama has called her the "bravest girl in the world."

In an interview last week, Yeo said 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," Yeo added.

He said he spent "a lot of time chatting" with her and "hearing her world views and what her life is like" before sitting down to paint her.

Yeo, whose works are also in the Royal Collection, said he depicted her 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."

When the portrait was finished Yeo said Malala told him "it's how she sees herself."

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