Exhibition book introduction by HE Prof Dr Isabel Pires de Lima, Minister of Culture of the Portuguese Republic.

I am most grateful to the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, for the honourable distinction of granting His High Patronage to this initiative – a major and significant step towards closer historical and cultural ties between the two countries.

I was extremely delighted to accept the kind invitation made by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Governor of Asir, to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the context of such a rare privilege as it is the organisation of the present exhibition enabling us to divulge leading Portuguese art works judiciously selected for this occasion.

My visit and the present exhibition intend to highlight and celebrate the authenticity of the bonding values that underpin any culture: respect for cultural diversity and promotion of dialogue between peoples.

The Portuguese landscape, displayed herein through the gaze of some of our finest artists, bears witness to the presence of various people that have inhabited and cohabited our land, leaving ancestral and permanent marks. The Arab legacy – perhaps one of the most deeply rooted influences in our richly diverse cultural landscape – is still very evident today and has played a key role in the shaping of our national identity, as revealed in our customs, language, architecture, music and gastronomy.

The exhibition of art works by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, that we had the privilege to host at the National Palace of Sintra in 2005, has provided a new momentum and given a major stimulus to strengthening the relationship between our two countries – the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Portuguese Republic – and has helped us to consolidate our historical and cultural ties. The present exhibition aims to expand and enhance this relationship while paying tribute to the generous hospitality shown to us.

I also owe a word of very special thanks to the King Faisal Foundation – which merits great acknowledgement for its admirable work and great achievements – for having invited me to attend its Annual Award Ceremony.

I would also like to convey my regards to Mr Anthony Bailey, Chairman of Painting & Patronage – an organisation founded by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud – for his commitment to help fostering stronger ties between our two nations.

To HE The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Portugal, Dr Mohammed Al-Rashid, a final word to express my acknowledgement and sincere thanks for his important role in furthering our cultural links as well as for his always amiable and generous cooperation.

Professor Dr Isabel Pires de Lima

Minister of Culture of Portugal
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