Commemorating the 20th year since Senna’s passing, British artist Ian Berry collaborated with the Ayrton Senna Institute to reveal a unique portrait crafted entirely of denim jeans. The iconic work of art has been made using jeans from Senna’s family. They gave them to Berry to create the portrait so he could intertwine the family into the piece of their beloved Ayrton that also celebrates the work they do with the Institute.
The portrait was unveiled today at the headquarters of the Institute by the family in the attendance of the artist. The unveiling of the portrait will be just a few days before the Brazilian Gran Prix at Interlagos, the home track of Ayrton.
The portrait was made for the benefit of the Institutes great charitable work with the proceeds to be donated to the Ayrton Senna Institute, a charitable organization to create opportunities for human development to children and young Brazilians.
As can be seen in a forthcoming BBC documentary about the young British artist, Ian Berry (Huddersfield, 1984) conjures remarkably detailed portraits and urban landscapes using nothing more than jeans. Over many weeks he cuts, stitches and glues using only the varying shades of the fabric to provide contrast and shadow. The family and Berry together chose a very characteristic photo of Ayrton to base the portrait on.
While working from his Amsterdam studio, Berry found inspiration in his early childhood: ‘’I remember playing a racing game and we all wanted to be Senna, I was only ten in 1994, but I remember. In later life I realized that he was an icon that transcended the sport of motor racing and is one of the greatest icons of the 20th Century and his legacy lives far into the 21st’’. Contributing to the unique details of Senna’s portrait Berry notes: “I think it is beautiful that it is created out jeans from his own family. They have carried on his legacy with care and made real his wishes to help the children of Brazil by founding the Instituto Ayrton Senna after Senna died in 1994.’’
When Ayrton died he will forever be remembered as the young, caring, handsome, talented hero with his memory preserved in denim in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece by remembering a man of the people – by a material of the people.