Largest Michael Jackson tribute to connect millions of fans worldwide

MUMBAI: In what is being dubbed the world’s largest tribute to The King of Pop, celebrity artist David Ilan, with support from Michael Jackson fans worldwide, as well as some of Jackson’s closest friends and family, is set to begin a unique interactive portrait of the late superstar. A special, invitation-only ribbon cutting ceremony will be held today (28 August) at the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, California.

The one-of-a-kind work of art will be created using a series of dots in a technique called pointillism. The first dots will be drawn on the blank portrait canvas at the ceremony – the very first for Michael and then one for each of his children. VIP guests attending the event will also be honored, including Don Wilson, Director /Producer of the Man in the Mirror video; Kishaya Dudley, the lead dancer with Jackson in the Rock My World video; Azia Pryor; Lou Ferrigno; and celebrity choreographers Shane Sparks and Brian Friedman from Fox Network’s So You Think You Can Dance. Master of Ceremonies for this event will be Gary Owens, MC for the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremonies.

Two years ago, David Ilan created the idea to associate each dot in his drawings with a real person and their message on any given topic. Each dot in Jackson’s portrait will represent a fan. "Behind every single dot I place on the canvas, there is a fan who loved Michael and is mourning his death," Ilan said. "It’s very fitting that the portrait of Michael will be created by dots representing his fans. Michael loved and respected his fans as much as his fans loved and respected him."

"A portrait like this, where one dot = one fan, will take a few months to complete, so we can make sure that fans around the world have an opportunity to hear about it and join. We want to reach as many people as possible from every country. It’s what Michael was working for his entire life; people forgetting their differences and coming together."

In order to start the Michael Jackson Tribute Project, the artist needed a quarter of a million fans to sign up online to ensure support. In just the first three weeks following the announcement, more than 100 thousand fans from more than 150 countries visited the pre-registration site to sign up. At least one million dots are needed to complete the image of the King of Pop, and fans worldwide are invited to become part of Jackson’s legacy by getting a free dot in his portrait in their name.

A dot is drawn on canvas each time someone signs up for it, with all of the dots eventually coming together to form Jackson’s image. "It’s a way for fans to feel like they’re part of something that’s going to be timeless," said Michael Jackson Fan Club president and lifelong friend of the superstar Deborah Dannelly. "The portrait will be around forever, and they can always be a part of that. Each fan is one dot for eternity. The one thing that Michael loved more than anything else besides his children was his fans, and he was always very, very appreciative of his fans. For there to be a portrait that’s going to be done with each dot representing a fan, oh he would love it! He would absolutely just be over the top with that."

Don Wilson added, "This tribute and the actual portrait are a unique, touching and everlasting way for those who knew, worked with and loved Michael Jackson to have a timeless connection to him and his spirit."