In countries all over the world, polo has a long history of raising significant funds for worthy causes.
Philanthropy has been integral to British Polo Day right from the start. The first British event saw over £85,000 raised with Prince Harry for Sentebale, hosted by Lord Lloyd Webber at his immaculate Watership Down private ground.
Thanks entirely to the ongoing generosity of its global community and the enthusiasms of the team over the years, British Polo Day has continued to raise funds wherever possible for various remarkable and worthy causes around the world.
A ‘gold standard’ approach has always been sought. Every pound/dollar raised goes directly to the chosen charities in each country, with no foundation or administration fee applied (except where expressly stated some artists ask for their time or foundry costs to be covered). All British Polo Day sourced lot proceeds are evenly distributed and all charity sourced lots go directly to those charities.
British Polo Day has always sought to raise funds for causes that resonate with our hosts in each country, as a gesture of gratitude for the gift of their support and patronage. Alongside this approach, British Polo Day often works closely with entrepreneurial billionaire philanthropists, who have global grand transformative challenges and change in mind. These individuals have chosen a problem to fix, coupled with a razor sharp and often disruptive approach to achieving this end.
Sacha Jafri was younger than Picasso when he was offered a 10 year retrospective by the Saatchi gallery, the youngest artist in history.
He is the pioneer of the Magical Realism style, and over the past 18 years Sacha has personally raised $40m from the sale of his works for many notable causes.
Sacha was at school with British Polo Day's Tom Hudson and Ben Vestey before his studies at Oxford, and training at the Ruskin College of Fine Art. His inimitable style explores Sacha’s understanding of the soul, inward reflection, and the universal language of humanity.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
‘Grace Thunders’ is an installation by Mark Evans that dominates the lobby of the St. Regis, Kuala Lumpur. The piece is a hand-etched leather artwork, comprising of 18 full-hides and is a composition that took Evans nearly five years, and the risk of his own life to create.
“I wanted to know what it felt like to experience the raw danger on the field. It’s primal, it’s aggressive, and it’s ageless. It’s a fight at its very core and I realized that that’s exactly where I needed to be to capture the energy of the game. Right in the heart of the battle, in the epicentre of the action. I suddenly knew my camera must view the game from the single most perilous point on the field, from the ball’s point of view.”
In order to achieve this dangerous imagery, Evans had to first cross the forbidden line of safety, and find a polo club that would allow him to do so. After many failed attempts, Evans eventually teamed up with Anthony Fanshawe, who immediately caught the vision. To photograph the specific imagery, Evans lay in the ground on the polo field, the ball was placed 3 feet from the camera lens, and the riders battled to swing and shoot directly at him. As the ponies and riders thundered overhead, just inches above his camera and his cranium, death or severe injury was close.
And so Grace Thunders was born, depicting the two contrasting sides to the game of polo, the extremes of its nature, the grace, the beauty and yet the danger of the fight. At fifty square metres, the sheer scale of the works meant that this project was utterly submersive. As guests walk into the lobby of the St. Regis, they are faced with two vast pieces, each over five metres high on opposite walls of the reception. Five giant horses and riders tower overhead, charging towards the viewer from right and left.
“My desire was to place the viewer on the field, in the heat of the action, and by doing so, create something breathtaking, a visceral view of the sport that had not been seen before.”
Mark Evans is currently producing a new series of polo works and a book to document the journey of the creation of these landmark pieces.
The paintings of Gibraltarian artist Christian Hook are rooted in tradition, yet brim with freshness and vitality. Winner of several prestigious awards, his interest lies in depicting motion, time and the movements that occurs in-between events: “We are always on the move, if not physically, mentally.”
Christian’s favourite subjects are the horse and the human figure and the fusion between classical art and abstraction has led him to find a unique way of perceiving his subjects. The past and the present collide each piece, creating alternating perspectives.
Christian was named ‘Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year’ in 2014, which elevated him to well-deserved prominence. The tense final, held at the National Portrait Gallery, was the culmination of a ten-month search to find the most talented portrait artist in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Christian studied illustration at Middlesex University, London before establishing a career as an illustrator for Disney and later lecturing in illustration at the Royal College of Art.
These days his celebrated work stands permanently in three British museums and is included in numerous important collections including the collection of His Royal Highness Prince Edward. He has just finished filming a documentary series about his work for Sky Arts, investigating the lives of some of Britain’s best-loved celebrities.
Nic Fiddian-Green, born in Hampshire in 1963, is best known as an equestrian sculptor, primarily working in bronze and beaten lead.
Nic has been fascinated by the horse’s head since his student days, when studying sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art he saw the 5th century Horse of Selene, part of the Parthenon at The British Museum and this sparked his lifelong obsession.
He has works in many important private and corporate collections and has exhibited in major galleries in Paris, Perugia in Italy, PAD in New York, Sydney and Hong Kong, as well as at most important Art Fairs such as Tefaf Maastricht, Dubai and Masterpiece London.
The spirit and power of the horse has been his obsession for 30 years and this passion makes his work take on a spiritual quality. He is an artist of our time yet his work embodies the classical Greek principles of beauty, serenity and harmony, but with a raw, natural power and strength, as if symbolic of the earth it came from. Casting Bronze, patination and the alchemy of metals have been a fascination for Nic since his student days.
Hamish Mackie is credited for his ability to not only capture the outward appearance of the animals he sculpts, but also to express the spirit of life within them. “You should be able to look at a wildlife sculpture in the eye and see life,” Mackie explains, as the intention behind his pieces, which are casted into either bronze or silver. Mackie has achieved this through years of research. In recent years he has travelled to Australia, across Africa, to the Middle East, Russia and to India. He travels with his camera, trail cameras and specially adapted studio box, observing, sculpting and recording as much information about his subjects in their natural habitat as possible.
Mackie brings this vital energy into the tactile process of modelling and the transformative alchemy of lost-wax casting. He aims to create a balance of tension and softness, through using bold strips of clay that are gouged or flattened, while leaving the marks of his fingerprints in place. His expressive handling engenders a powerful sense of impending action in his animal sculptures.
In 2013, Hamish was commissioned by Berkeley Group to sculpt six life-and-a-quarter size horses for their Goodman’s Fields development in the City of London; and in 2016 Hamish won the prestigious PMSA Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture and Fountains for this project.
It is not only wildlife that Mackie sculpts, he is also keen to challenge himself artistically and has been inspired by the ancient wall paintings in Lascaux in the Dordogne, by ancient relics seen in museums visited on his travels and by the human body. In 2015, Mackie made three pieces based on the female form, all of which were made working with a life model in his studio. According to Mackie, unlike watching a wild animal in its natural habitat when there is no control over movement, he was able to give guidance to his subject, resulting in an altogether different but no less dynamic artwork. More recently Mackie created Riverbed 2017, a wall hanging inspired by Millais’ famous painting of Ophelia.
There is no doubt that Mackie is a master animalier, but it is also his enthusiasm for new challenges, his ability to work as part of a team, to any brief at any scale, along with his quick understanding of a project and his background in design, that makes Mackie the perfect choice for your commission.