Your Royal Highness, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Governor of Asir,
Your Excellency, Professor Doctor Isabel Pires de Lima, Minister of the Culture of the Portuguese Republic,
Your Royal Highnesses
Cultural Representatives of His Excellency The President of the Portuguese Republic and His Excellency The Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic
Before I have the very great pleasure of inviting His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal to address us, I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few words about Painting and Patronage.
Some nine years ago, during my first ever visit to the Kingdom, I discovered a man who happened to be an artist, who was also a poet, and a well established philanthropist, and someone who also happened to be a prince and a royal governor.
In a very short time I realised, like countless others before me, that this person was someone very unique not only because of his total and lifetime commitment to furthering his late Father’s legacy, but also someone whom in his hallmark characteristics of the true embodiment of public service, quietly, yet so powerfully, sought to bridge misunderstanding and mistrust between the Western and Islamic worlds, and further the quest for greater knowledge and respect among the human race. And above all else, to bring the true face of Saudi Arabia and its people to the wider world.
This person, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, was in the spirit of what I have just said, the guiding father and principal source of inspiration behind the establishment of Painting & Patronage. And for that I wish to thank him most sincerely for his efforts and his valued friendship.
From its very beginnings some seven years ago, Painting & Patronage has had at its core one principal aim and activity – namely to build valuable and much needed bridges of cultural, artistic and educational understanding between the Arab and Western worlds. Through doing so, the initiative works towards establishing a much higher and deeper appreciation and understanding of our two worlds – each with their own distinct and diverse cultures, traditions and heritage. And at this time of growing international tension such activities are of the greatest importance.
In recent years Your Royal Highness has launched a significant bilateral artistic exchange and scholarship programme with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in London and Riyadh and now most recently with the Government of the Portuguese Republic. And these initiatives have occurred along side your other cultural programmes which have taken place in Germany, France, Morocco and Lebanon to name a few. And looking to the future to Belgium, Brazil, Russia, Germany and Spain.
I am delighted therefore that the current and fourth Painting & Patronage initiative will for the first time ever allow for a significant exhibition of Portuguese contemporary art to be shown here in Riyadh. I very much hope it will afford the Saudi Arabian people the opportunity through the medium of art to better appreciate and understand one of Europe’s oldest and most learned of countries. And therefore, much like Your Royal Highness’s own paintings, which brought Saudi Arabia to the hearts and minds of the Portuguese people during the Sintra exhibition in September 2005 which was held under the High Patronage of His Excellency The President of the Portuguese Republic.
May I also put on record how delighted I am that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud has granted his High Patronage over the current initiative and that His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud has agreed to formally open it. This is for me the clearest indication that this initiative has come of age and will hopefully be broadened and structured further.
Your Royal Highness, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen,
May I end by expressing my sincerest thanks to those who have worked tirelessly to achieve the success of the current programme. In particular I would like to thank most sincerely Her Excellency Professor Doctor Isabel Pires de Lima, Minister of Culture of the Portuguese Republic for her vision and commitment to the programme and for bringing in her delegation a large number of leading academics, artists and cultural personalities. I would also like to thank Dr Ana Madureira of the Ministry of Culture and Farid Warsi and his team at the King Faisal Foundation as well as the two diplomatic missions for their tireless work.
Whilst we have sadly not been able to formally establish an artistic exchange programme on this occasion, may I appeal to the business communities in both countries to assist the initiative further and to allow for the exchange of Saudi Arabian and Portuguese artists.
I would also like to thank Baron Miguel Horta e Costa, who as President of Portugal Telecom and currently as Executive Vice Chairman of the Espirito Santo Investment Bank for his longstanding support of the programme. May I also express my thanks to Abdool Magid Vakil, Head of the Islamic community in Portugal for his support. Their understanding of this part of the world will no doubt be of vital use to those wishing to furthering trade and economic links between Portugal and Saudi Arabia.
Lastly may I thank Dr Maria Joao Burstoff, who participated in the second Painting and Patronage initiative in 2001 and who as Minister of Culture extended the first invitation to Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and the Board of Painting & Patronage to visit Portugal. Lastly I would like to thank Dr Alberto Laplaine Guimarais, Dr Paulo Santos and Eligo International who have all been significant supporters of the programme.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening. I now have the very great pleasure in inviting His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud to address us.
- Speech by HE Prof Dr Isabel Pires de Lima, Minister of Culture of the Portuguese Republic
- Speech by Mr Anthony Bailey, Chairman of Painting & Patronage
- Exhibition book introduction by HE Prof Dr Isabel Pires de Lima, Minister of Culture of the Portuguese Republic
- Exhibition Book introduction by Prof. Dr. Bernardino Pinto de Almeida
- The Honorary Committee of Painting & Patronage Saudi Arabia 2007
- Programme Overview