(Saju Nair - Dubai) Curating an event with a difference has always been one of the many inspiring qualities of Funun Arts, a gallery located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. While the current health crisis has shattered the momentum of daily life across segments, it is quite interesting to realize that the artists have chosen this period to express themselves resulting in the creation of fabulous masterpieces. Artists involved in painting all around the world has utilized this period of isolation to set their imaginations free and to be active in creating and presenting their work to a larger community through virtual platforms.

'Al Amal' which translates to 'Hope' in English is currently the most prominent title in UAE and was assigned for their prestigious mars mission initiated by The Emirates Mars Mission. 'Hope Probe' was successfully launched on 19th July 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan at 6.58am (9.58pm GMT). The Emirates Mars Mission was initiated with an ambition to delve deeper into the mysteries of space and to explore opportunities for the world to observe, investigate and study about the Martian atmosphere and the features of the red planet. With this mission, UAE also claims the prestigious title of the first Arab country to launch an interplanetary mission that was designed, built and dispatched to the target destination in just six years. After the long journey, 'Hope' is expected to reach Mars orbit by Feb 2021 and it is certain that this very moment will go down in history as the golden juncture of success.

To spread awareness and to express their solidarity, Funun Arts this time curated a virtual gathering titled 'Al Amal' that has acclaimed immense appreciations and acceptance from the global art community. Before continuing the report of this event, it is mandatory to share some information with our readers about SNF Development Center as they have played an integral part in the success of this event.

The Special Needs Future Development Center, with their base in Dubai, is an institution that support young adults with determination to empower them to face the world with utmost confidence. Identifying the interest of each student, and to nurture them, the faculty of SNF has designed various personalized programs based on the requirement of the student. All programs are designed and derived professionally to attract students by creating an atmosphere of enthusiasm and curiosity, allowing these beautiful young minds to give wings to their imaginations all the while gifting an opportunity for them to dream big. This great humanitarian effort by SNF has always received immense appreciations and international recognitions from various organizations, institutions, administrations across the globe and has set a quintessential example for others to follow and to realize the importance of love, care and to spread the awareness of equality and to embrace the beauty of humanity. To know more about SNF and Its activities please click on the mentioned link. https://snfgroup.com/

The concept for this event was designed by the founders of Funun Arts involving 9 students of SNF Development Center and 6 well acclaimed artists residing in the UAE. To inspire students and to plant the seeds of curiosity and an element of surprise, Funun Arts has opened the world of science for them to learn and admire. Giving the theme of UAE's Mars mission, 9 students and 6 artists have created 16 blocks of canvas painted beautifully which later was compiled and presented as a single artwork to the world. The innocence, eagerness and sense of satisfaction was clearly visible on each student when these champions occupied the center stage on the Zoom platform provided by Funun where they shared their experience in an interactive session. IlTelevisionario2 also salutes the parents of all these students for all their support and guidance that has brought contagious smiles to all those charismatic faces.

His Excellency Suhail Al Zarooni - Guinness World Record Holder, A Philanthropist, An Author, Art Collector, Ambassador at large and Emirati Businessman inaugurated this virtual event and during the inaugural address, His Excellency extended warm wishes and success to the management of Funun Arts, SNF Development Center, all participating students and artists. The event was open for discussion and during the interactive session, His Excellency applauded the inspiring efforts by all those who are associated with the success of this event and extended his personal invitation for all the participants and organizers to visit his palace in Dubai.

First row from left Mr. Khalil AbdulWahid, Mr. Peter Gressmann, Ms. Mehnas, Mr. Ahmed Rukni Al Awadhi Second row from left Dr. Romit Purohit, Ms. Afshan Quraishi, Mr. Saju Nair, Ms. Alessandra Giorda
First row from left Mr. Khalil AbdulWahid, Mr. Peter Gressmann, Ms. Mehnas, Mr. Ahmed Rukni Al Awadhi Second row from left Dr. Romit Purohit, Ms. Afshan Quraishi, Mr. Saju Nair, Ms. Alessandra Giorda

The event also graced with the presence of Mr. Khalil AbdulWahid, Emirati artist, Director of Fine arts Department Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Mr. Peter Gressmann - Art Critic, Art Dealer, Curator and founder of artforumuae, Mr. Anjini Prakash Laithu - Veteran Indian artist, Dr. Romit Purohit - Motivational speaker and founder of The Paintbrush Art Community, Ms. Sonal Purohit, well-known artist, curator and co-founder of The Paintbrush Art Community, Ms. Alessandra Giorda - Founder of ilTelevisionario2 and Ms. Afshan Quraishi - Prominent Indian artist. Many other distinguished personalities also joined the Zoom meeting to extend their well wishes and to express their support to all participating students, artists and the organizers.

Interactive video meeting at Zoom Platform
Interactive video meeting at Zoom Platform

 A decade long of presence in providing service to the adults of determination, the management and faculty of SNF Development Center has always reached out to all potential opportunities available to provide platforms for their students to perform and interact with the society. In the past, there has been various programs conducted in coordination with Funun Arts where students were given prospects to interact with artists and join them to instigate hidden talents and to spread colors on blank canvases resulting in the creation of some magnificent artworks. Mrs. Safia Bari, Director of SNF Development Center was extremely happy to see the children of her center on this platform. She expressed her gratitude to the Khan Sisters of Funun Arts for organizing such a unique event and says "This type of event really boosts confidence and improves the personality of these children of determination. SNF strives to aid them in becoming self -sufficient, personally and professionally." She recollects the quote of Mr. Lyman Abott and reiterates "A child is a beam of sunlight from infinite and eternal, with possibilities of virtue and vice, but as yet unstained." During this difficult time of restricting ourselves from meeting people due to the fear and also to take all adequate precautions to defeat the COVID19 pandemic, a virtual event of this style has rejuvenated the spirit and enthusiasm of graceful students and all those associated with this event. Ms. Mehnas, Managing Director of SNF Development Center also played a crucial role in leading this event to the doors of success.

"We are very happy that our son was able to contribute towards this exhibition on Hope, Emirates Mars Mission an important event that will go down in the history of the UAE. Our thanks to Funun Arts and SNF for this opportunity to show that people of determination are a part of the society." - Parents of participating student Jonathan Paul.

"We are proud of our daughter Izzati for being able to contribute her painting skill to the art that was made in conjunction to the rest of pierce. As such we are incredibly thankful to the people at Funun Arts and SNF Center for the chance to join this exhibition where she can shine while developing her talents further." Says parents of participating student Izzati Fithri Hassan

"This year has indeed been tough for each one of us however meeting through the screen has simplified it but we all still miss the essence. Once again Funun Arts gave us the opportunity to show Heba's talent and love for art. She enjoyed and loved painting for this event. it is an amazing feeling to see Heba explore and flourish through colors. Please accept my gratitude for making her part of this exhibition." Says Parents of Heba Ali Khan

Ms. Shiba Khan, Founder of Funun arts, who herself is a pioneer artist and art activist and Ms. Farah Khan - The Creative Director of Funun Arts shared their views on this event with us "By god's grace we have had the opportunity to collaborate with SNF Development Center every year to organize events that brings smiles to the graceful students of SNF. This year due to this pandemic we have restricted physical gathering for the sake of wellbeing of the society and we have slightly altered the operating modalities by utilizing the benefit of modern technology to still get connected and to continue our activities without any hindrance. As such since the pandemic we are actively engaged in conducting virtual events involving artists and young speakers from across the globe. This event is 5th in the series of our virtual event and this is also very close to our heart. 9 students from the SNF Development Center and 6 artists created 16 artworks of 40 x 40cm each and when these 16 artworks were joined together, the result was a huge beautiful collaborative painting named 'AL -AMAL' (Hope) which is a tribute to the achievement of UAE. We believe 'Everyone is equal and every child deserves his place in this society. The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation.' Funun is always committed and determined to host events that inspires students to share their happiness and pride with the society and to give them an opportunity to embrace and admire all that the world has to offer. Says Ms. Shiba Khan and Ms. Farah Khan in a joint statement.

Mr. Anjini Prakash Laitu, Mr. Bilal Siddiqui, Ms. Shiba Khan, Ms. Sonal Purohit, Ms. Sonu Sultania, and Ms. Yuvika Garg also joined hands with Funun Arts and SNF to give life to a magical event like 'Al Amal'. This event has not only hit the headlines but it has done something more precious than that, it has spread love, hope and happiness to all the hearts that witnessed this spectacle.

Khan Ayaan Abdulla, son of Ms. Shiba Khan, pursuing his academics in grade 10 with Delhi Private School Sharjah, also ensured his presence during the zoom video session. The multi-talented Ayaan has already showcased his talents in painting, literature, music and in public speaking in addition to being an active participant in many humanitarian programs. Specially for 'Al Amal', he recited a beautiful self-composed poem named 'The Desert City'. In this poem, the poet expressed his wonder and pride on the transmission of UAE from a mere desert to a Hi-tech metropolitan city that accommodates number of sky scrapers which also showcases the architectural brilliance all the while respecting and maintaining the beauty of nature. The poet also expresses his confidence on the visionary rulers of this great nation as he says that the next destination to witness such developments is the red planet, through these lines the poet expresses his support to the Emirates Mars mission project. Beautifully articulated words by the poet have shared emotions, confidence and hope for the country and he says "I am very fascinated and inspired by the Hope mission and that is why I composed this poem deep from my heart in tribute to the UAE and H.H. Sheikh Zayed".

16 creations, One masterpiece
16 creations, One masterpiece

Me, and Ms. Alessandra Giorda on behalf of IlTelevisionario2 salutes the successful efforts of Funun Arts, the management of SNF Development Center, artist and guest who have been a part of this event and more importantly the students and their parents who have patiently yet compassionately worked hard to gift an event to the world that will be cherished down the lane. Congratulations to all!

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