SLOW MARATHON 2020: UNDER ONE SKY Illustration: Jacques Coetzer

بنی‌آدم اعضای یک پیکرند که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند
Human beings are members of a whole, since in their creation they are of one essence.
— Saadi Shirazi

Slow Marathon 2020: Under One Sky is a collaborative artwork supported by Deveron Projects, based in Huntly, a market town in the north east of Scotland with a population of 4,500. The Slow Marathon is an annual walking event, which Deveron Projects co-concepted with Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede in 2012. Celebrating the human pace, it is both an endurance event as well as a poetic act, that brings together friendship, physical activity and an appreciation of our varied landscape. Before responding to the pandemic, this year’s Slow Marathon was initially planned for Saturday, June 13 as a 26 mile /42 km walk.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iman Tajik, a Glasgow based artist and photographer originally from Iran, re-imagined the annual event as one of global solidarity through collective participation. Borders and the movement of freedom are his key subject matters – influenced by his personal experience of crossing borders. Through the Under One Sky project, artist Iman Tajik is forging a digitally collaborative relationship with many walkers across the world. He is collecting photos of the sky that people see when they look up while walking, and these images will be brought together in a massive artwork, created by all of the participants.

Our current climate adopts an increasing fear of the outsider into our lives and homes. Some of our politician’s rhetoric about Covid-19 being a ‘foreign virus’; subsequent border closures – they all play into existing xenophobia. The virus however, doesn’t acknowledge borders. A pandemic affected us all. So, what can we do to show that we all live under one sky?

An open invitation, sharing Iman’s poetic goal to walk around the world, was put out via social media calling for Global Slow Marathon participants. Together, we would walk 40,075 km / 22,091 miles, equaling the circumference of the Earth.

The Skywalker FAM

On July 9, 2020 Flo Oy Wong shared that her walking partner rescued this Western tiger swallowtail butterfly, which was stuck on the street. She found a long twig and gently lifted it and placed the butterfly on an agapanthus flower.

On July 9, 2020, a trio of friends who enjoy a daily walk around their respective Bay Area neighborhoods accepted the Global Slow Marathon invitation. Flo Oy Wong, Andi Wong and Mara Grimes dubbed their walking group, The Skywalker FAM. They were soon joined by Maggy, Antigone, Jan, Margaret and Anna Maria, along with other friends who have pledged to walk soon. If you would like to join the project, we welcome your participation. Walk only once or walk daily – as you wish. You can snap a photo of the sky and send us your image and mileage and we will add your individual contribution to our total Skywalker FAM mileage.

To date, The Skywalker FAM has collectively walked 182.10 miles (or 7.0 marathons) and we’ve taken hundreds of photos on our daily walks to be shared as a record of our collective journey. By agreeing to walk together, we’ve taken time for ourselves and each other to practice “social connection.” Each day, we venture out to gaze at the skies overhead, remembering to express our wonder and gratitude for the things that keep us moving.

So far, 315 walkers from over 40 different countries have walked 37176.66 kilometre — and the project is fast approaching 49 million footsteps together, 95% of our journey around the Earth.

A walk isn’t always a walk! We hope that everyone can join us, whether that’s on two legs, less or more, or on wheels. It’s not about how many miles, km or metres we cover individually, it’s about what we achieve together.

The Skywalker FAM appreciates that the Global Slow Marathon 2020: Under One Sky, as re-imagined by artist Iman Tajik, has given us an opportunity to be socially connected through walking, even as we are called to shelter in place. Cumulatively, mile by mile, we wend our human trail across the surface of our planet and through as many borders as we can.

We walk as One Family, Under One Sky!

The sky overhead, as seen from 122° 25′ 27.372″ W, 37° 44′ 37.902″ N on August 17, 2020, 5:41 PM

One thought on “Global Slow Marathon 2020: Under One Sky

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