Sculptor Lorenzo Quinn Has a History of Using Art to Do Good

The sculptor, who recently created a piece for an auction benefiting UNICEF India and Dubai Cares, has previously created installations for nonprofits and donated sculptures in support several of causes.

For a brief period in the 1980s and 1990s, Lorenzo Quinn followed the path chosen by his father, the late Oscar Award-winning actor Anthony Quinn, taking roles in films like Stradivari and Dali. But he eventually found a creative endeavor he enjoyed more: working in the visual arts, specifically creating of large-scale public installations.

Man with blue blazer and white fedora posing outdoors
Lorenzo Quinn at the Cannes Film Festival in July 2021. Foc Kan/Film/Magic

Quinn has since become a figurative sculptor known for massive site-specific sculptures. His works, which often embody humanitarian messages focused on peace, unity and the need to respond to climate change, have also been leveraged by the artist as a form of philanthropy.

In his latest charitable endeavor, Quinn has donated a piece that will be sold off today (September 29) in a fundraising auction in Dubai benefiting UNICEF India and the youth-focused organization Dubai Cares. The sale was organized by the philanthropic arts initiative Art be a Part, which is also selling works by artists such as Maryam Sharaf and Maria Lys. “We are thrilled that Lorenzo has joined our international community of artists, and enormously grateful that he chose to make such a generous and inspiring contribution to our fundraising efforts,” said Medha Nanda, Art be a Part’s founder, in a statement.

Quinn’s donated sculpture is entitled Give and depicts two joined hands, which are a common motif in the artist’s work. “It represents the selfless act of giving without expecting anything in return,” said Quinn of the sculpture in a video posted to Instagram.

Hands also starred in two of the artist’s most well-known installations, which appeared in Venice respectively in 2017 and 2019. In the first work, a pair of children’s hands emerged from the city’s Grand Canal as a statement on rising sea levels. In the second, six pairs of hands created a bridge over a Venetian waterway symbolizing the need for unity. Quinn, 57, has seen his work displayed in several major cultural institutions and events, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale. Another of his hand-themed installations was included in the first-ever art exhibition at the Great Pyramid of Giza in 2021, and Quinn was additionally commissioned to create a steel sculpture entitled The Greatest Goal for the 2022 World Cup.

Sculpture of two large white hands rising out of canal
Lorenzo Quinn’s Support installation in Venice. Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket via Getty Images

Lorenzo Quinn’s record of art-fueled philanthropy

This isn’t the first time Quinn has donated his works to a charitable cause. Following the 2009 Samoa tsunami, Quinn was inspired to create The Force of Nature II to benefit nonprofits like the Happy Hearts Fund and the March to the Top Foundation, which aided affected communities. In 2014, two of his sculptures sold for $300,000 at an auction benefiting several organizations, including the Sunrise K’ Foundation, which aids children with glaucoma, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, Quinn donated a non-fungible token (NFT) to a SuperRare auction fundraising money to support the nation.

In addition to his direct involvement in nonprofit funding, the artist himself has been commissioned by foundations over the years. In 2018, he designed the sculpture Empowerment for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, a youth award program founded by the late Prince Philip. He has also created several pieces for billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, a prominent art collector, and his wife Alexandra. Quinn’s most notable work for the couple was installed in Connecticut in 2018 after two years of work resulted in Give from the Heart, a 10-foot tall sculpture he was commissioned to make for the 15th anniversary of the couple’s philanthropic foundation.

Sculptor Lorenzo Quinn Has a History of Using Art to Do Good