Message from Mr Anthony Bailey, Chairman of Painting & Patronage.

I am truly delighted that the third Painting & Patronage initiative will take place in Portugal and especially so in Sintra. For many years I have visited this great city and country and never ceased to be amazed by its untold beauty, its natural magnificence, its spirituality, its warm hospitality, and its architectural wonders which stretch back to the very origins of the nation’s history and beyond.

Sintra, with all its Moorish history and architectural legacy and richness is therefore an especially appropriate location from which to launch what I am sure will become the largest ever cultural and educational Exchange programme between Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

The principal aim and activity of Painting & Patronage is to build valuable bridges of cultural, artistic and educational understanding between the Arab world and Europe. It also aims to establish a higher and deeper level of appreciation and understanding of each other’s distinct and diverse cultures and traditions.

The Painting & Patronage initiative will also create high level international platforms for statesmen from the Arab world and Europe to assign and promote, both nationally and internationally, their own roles as artists or as patrons of the arts.

I am delighted therefore that the current Painting & Patronage initiative has been granted the High Patronage and active involvement of His Excellency The President of the Portuguese Republic, Dr Jorge Sampaio. I am pleased also that His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the founder of Painting & Patronage, and someone whom I have come to greatly admire and respect for his ceaseless dedication and determination, over so many years, to promote more meaningful cultural understanding between the Arab world and the West is also honouring us with His presence.

At this time of growing tension in world affairs, the urgent need to fully utilise and reinforce culture in its broadest terms as a means of forging greater understanding between the Arab and European people cannot be underestimated. Painting & Patronage is an initiative based on its founding mission statement that those values which Arabs and Europeans commonly share and appreciate are clearly so much more important than those that still divide us.

Painting & Patronage was first launched in 1999 by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud in Riyadh and is today one of the largest private royal cultural and educational exchange initiatives of its kind between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Europe.

As part of the formal launching of the initiative in Portugal, a programme of exchange of artists between Saudi Arabia and Portugal will be set-up, with the aim to paint their respective landscapes. The resulting pictures will be exhibited among others in early 2006 in Riyadh in what will be the first showcase of Portuguese art and culture in Saudi Arabia.

The first Painting & Patronage initiative took place in London in 2000 in historic Palace of Whitehall and united HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal with HRH The Prince of Wales in what became the largest ever cultural exchange programme between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The exhibition was visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and a Summer School was established for young artists of both countries as well as a formal exchange programme established between The Prince’s Foundation and the King Faisal Foundation.

The second Painting & Patronage initiative was held in Riyadh in February 2001 and was opened by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (as Crown Prince), HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.

As an on-going royal initiative, Painting & Patronage would like to initiate other cultural exchange programmes and is at this moment planning to broaden its activities within the coming years to include other European countries.

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