Levine X amfAR at Cannes Film Festival
This May, the 26th annual amfAR Gala in Cannes raised more than $15 million for vital research into treatments for HIV and AIDs. The amfAR Gala marks the social highlight of the Cannes Film Festival. This years charity fashion show, dubbed “We Can Be Heroes” was dedicated to David Bowie and Karl Lagerfeld, and the entire evening was an opulent celebration of all things rock ’n' roll, with outrageous fashion and Performances by Mariah Carey, Dua Lipa, Tom Jones and The Struts. Chris Levine’s ‘Lightness of Being’ was a celebrated addition, dubbed a ‘highlight’ of the show by Tatler. The extraordinary portrait featured alongside A screen print of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol signed by both, and a sculpture by Takashi Murakami.
Globally renowned light artist Chris Levine has, over the years, established himself as a generous and key donator for multiple AIDs charities. In 2017 Levine donated his 2015 photograph of the 14th Dalai Lama to amfAR, and in 2016 he donated Kate Moss ‘She's Light’. In March this year, Chris Levine donated ‘Lightness of Being’, to EJAF, fetching an incredible $360,000 in support of the foundation’s fantastic and vital work.
His philanthropic efforts can be viewed as part of Levine’s broader world view. Levine is fascinated and inspired by meditation. His work is about connectivity and consciousness, and his commitment to charity denotes a more general belief in the kinship of humanity. According to Levine ‘Lightness of Being’, the much-celebrated portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, was created due to the profound impact that meditation was having on his life. “I told her [The Queen] about how I'd go off on 10-day silent retreats, and she was very interested” remembers Levine. “I timed the exposures around her breathing – it seemed a way of tuning into her. Later, this image really stood out – it has such an aura about it, a power.” Indeed the piece has such a hypnotic peace to it, it is no surprise that it continues to fascinate and inspire viewers.
This extraordinarily high profile event, star-studded with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Eva Longoria, Kris and Kendall Jenner and Rebel Wilson, is labelled the ‘the golden ticket, the place to pull out the show stoppers’ by photographer Ellen von Unwerth. More importantly, it is a vital fundraiser for The Foundation for AIDS Research, one of the world's leading nonprofit organisations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy. At the event, host Roedy reminded the gathered celebrities that in the past year, over one million people died of HIV/AIDS, which remains “the worst pandemic in modern history.” He praised the importance of the event, as it enabled the ‘launch [of] a new set of investments.’ amfAR’s IciStem association has recently played a key role in the recent case of the London patient, who is reportedly the second person ever to have been cured of HIV. The sentiment ‘We Can Be Heroes’ took on a deeper meaning when the fashion collection of the same name raised over $1.15 million. This surely is a heroic purpose for a night of fun!