International Art Marathon travels with Baton of Hope for universal healing - GulfToday

International Art Marathon travels with Baton of Hope for universal healing

Artwork titled In Love with Nature by Mohammed Azaan Mehtab Khan.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The International Art Marathon (IAM, launched May 8 till year-end), conceived by the founders of Funun Arts Group, sisters Shiba Khan and Farah Khan, represents a pioneering effort to mobilise creativity and solidarity, in response to the myriad challenges facing the world.

The Marathon was seeded in 2023 with the We Can Change Climate Change programme, part of Youth Creative Minds Hub and Funun Arts’ Annual Student Art Show. The innovative initiative now is a platform for people from all walks of life to come together with a single purpose: to heal the world. A baton, which carries the message of the Marathon, will travel through many countries, including, till date, Congo, Pakistan, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar.

The Marathon, powered by Young Times, began its journey from Al Mawakeb, Al Khawaneej, Dubai, who has been appointed Funun Arts Group school ambassador and event partner. The launch ceremony was attended by guests including Abida Hossain (First Lady of Consulate General of Bangladesh); Khulood Al Junaibi, (Events Director of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority and General Secretary of UAE Sports For All Federation); Laila Rahhal (President and Founder of Business Gate and Women Business Circle); Harjyot Oberoi Bohra (Head of Marketing  and Communication, Khaleej Times), Safia Bari, Founder of SNF Center for Special Needs; Ahmed Al Awadhi (pioneer Emirati artist and businessman); Mohammed Ali (owner, Breathe Gallery); Kusum Dutta (philanthropist); Babli Singh (wife of Labor Consul, India); Samira Al Awadhi (Principal, Al Mawakeb School, Al Khawaneej); Gretta Soubhie, (activities and well-being coordinator) and Marwan Karout (HOD Arts of Al Mawakeb School, Al Khawaneej).

 Farah Khan co-founded Funun Arts Group.

350 students from 10 different schools of Dubai attended, plus 20 teachers and 25 youth ambassadors appointed by Funun Arts Group and Youth Creative Minds Hub for the year 2024 -2025. Over 10 schools joined the Marathon as school partners.

Hailing from Dubai were North American International School; Arab Unity School; Cedar School; Al Mawakeb, Garhoud; Al Mawakeb, Barsha; Indian High School; New Academy School; Al Salam Private School and Dubai Gem Private School. Other school partners include International School of Creative Science, Muwaileh, Sharjah; Ryan International School, Sharjah; Bronte College, Canada; Allenhouse Public School, Kanpur, India.

Shiba Khan said that “the Baton of the International Art Marathon is ingeniously crafted, embodying the event’s essence and importance. Shaped like a painting brush with eight brushes on top, it has profound symbolism. Each brush represents a UAE emirate, while the eighth brush symbolises global connectivity.


The gold colour signifies success, hope and achievement, resonating with the Marathon’s spirit.” The Marathon’s next halt is in Sharjah (May 16). It will then travel to Canada on May 22; Ajman in June; India in July; Congo in August; Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, and Abu Dhabi in September and to Oman, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Pakistan in October.

Farah Khan, co-founder of Funun Arts said: “The tagline Heal the World serves as a reminder of our environmental and humanitarian responsibility to safeguard the Earth for us and for future generations.” The Baton of Hope was passed on by Shiba Khan, Farah Khan and Mohammed Huzaifa Khan, founder of Youth Creative Minds Hub, to Samira Al Awadhi, principal of Al Mawakeb School, Al Khawaneej and to the youth ambassadors of the respective schools.

Bringing students to the platform was to develop a sense of awareness and social responsibility in them. The inaugural ceremony also involved the efforts of a cohort of young singers from Al Mawakeb School, Al Khawaneej, and a dance performance by Kathak dancer, Swarashri Shridhar.“The Art Marathon represents a commendable effort to harness the power of creativity and unity in addressing global challenges,” said Samira Al Awadhi.

 Shiba Khan is co-founder of Funun Arts Group.

Harjyot Oberoi said that “an admirable attempt to harness the power of art and solidarity in tackling global concerns, is the International Art Marathon.” Mohammed Huzaifa Khan said: “Each step the International Art Marathon takes will serve as a bridge, connecting diverse cultures and communities across the globe.

As it travels, it will carry with it the message of creativity, unity and inspiration, leaving a trail of art and beauty in its wake. This journey symbolises the boundless power of art to transcend boundaries and bring people together in a celebration of shared humanity and creativity, with the final phase of the journey coming back to the UAE.”

 Participants at the Art Marathon.

Mohammad Al Gurair, youth ambassador, said: “Heal the World is a rallying cry for individuals, communities, and nations to come together, transcend differences, and work towards a common goal of environmental preservation and social justice. By heeding this call, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable future.” Funun Arts Group also announced the ambassadors of the Marathon from all seven Emirates and several countries. Bronte College, Ontario, Canada and Allenhouse Public School are school ambassadors of their respective countries.

Abida Hosain is the IAM Ambassador of Bangladesh.Kavita Sriram, IAM ambassador of Abu Dhabi, Sumedha Randev, IAM ambassador of Ras Al-Khaimah, Pari Sagar, IAM ambassador of Umm Al Quwain, Dr. Poonam Chauhan, IAM ambassador of Fujairah, Saida Banu, IAM ambassador of Sharjah, Hiba Khan, IAM ambassador of Dubai, Laila Rahhal, IAM ambassador of Ajman, Hafsa Fatima, IAM ambassador, India and Madhuri Musani, IAM ambassador of Congo, received the batons for their respective regions. The next stop at Sharjah is at the International School of Creative Science, Muweilah.

Related articles