Opening Ceremony Speech by His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Exhibition in London 1999-2000.

The Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace, London SW1
Thursday 15 June 2000
Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests.

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be with you all here today, at this special opening ceremony of Painting and Patronage.

I am truly delighted that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales agreed to participate in this joint exhibition, which is one of the largest cultural collaborations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom – as well as our two dynasties.

I was very pleased that The Prince of Wales and James Hart Dyke were able to spend some time painting in the mountains of Asir, during their visit to the Kingdom last year.

Over the past 25 years, since my appointment as Governor of the Asir province, I have got to know this dramatic landscape well. I believe that both of my fellow exhibitors here today have, in the short period of time available to them, captured very successfully the wonderful light and the imposing presence of the mountains and province I call home.

It is my hope that our pictures and this impressive exhibition will encourage other artists, amateur and professional, from around the world to come to Asir to paint and experience its great natural beauty.

I am therefore particularly pleased to be the first supporter of a Summer Programme at The Prince’s Foundation here in London which will, in its inaugural year, include workshops for students of the King Fahad Academy and other London based schools. I hope that this important initiative will ensure a greater exchange and co-operation between our two peoples in the future.

I am delighted that BAE Systems and Shell has firmly supported both this exhibition and artistic school initiative. These two distinguished companies have been in partnership with the Kingdom for many years and their active support and encouragement of many cultural and charitable initiatives in Saudi Arabia are well known and much appreciated.

I would also like to pay tribute to the initiative’s founding chairman Anthony Bailey and also his team of advisers at Eligo International for creating this wonderful event and making it possible.

In addition, I would like to thank all those at the King Faisal Foundation, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Sheeran Lock, SYAHYA – the National Company of Tourism, Abha Chamber of Commerce and the Dhafir bin Hamsan Tradition Village, Charles Mardsen-Smedley and many others, for working so tirelessly in ensuring the complete success of this exhibition and the visionary insight it offers.

I furthermore look forward to this exhibition travelling to Saudi Arabia next year when my people can share and participate in this exciting project.

Thank you.

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