By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah (DAI) celebrated the 40th anniversary of its establishment on Wednesday by hosting the ‘Art and Diplomacy: Kuwait’s Shared Language’ conference at the Amricani Cultural Centre. In his speech, Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah affirmed that culture and art are essential to the foundations of states and diplomacy, adding art is not only integral to diplomacy, but also complementary to it.
“An artist’s brush strokes are beyond the limits of a diplomat’s pen. Art in its purest form is an expression of that which cannot be expressed. It is the potent evocation of our feelings. When America confronted the devastating terrorist attack in 2001, Sheikha Hessa and the late Sheikh Nasser launched the Dar Al-Athar exhibition in New York, not far from Ground Zero. Sheikha Hessa affirmed that the exhibition shows Islam’s truth of tolerance, affection and culture. That exhibition brought us together when our American friends were in pain; that exhibition sought to console them,” Sheikh Salem said.
He added the exhibition in 2001 was a true testimony of the intersection of art and diplomacy, praising the role of the late Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hessa for establishing DAI and making it an Islamic reference for the next generation. Dr Mohammad Khaled Al-Jassar, Acting Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters and Assistant Secretary-General for Antiquities and Museums, said the late Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah began gathering the Al-Sabah archaeological collection with Sheikha Hessa Al-Sabah in 1973, before the establishment of DAI in 1983.
He indicated since then, Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah has played an essential role in Kuwait’s diplomatic role around the world, especially during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, noting that during this period, Kuwait’s voice was heard around the globe, defending its legitimacy, represented by DAI, which continued to hold international exhibitions.
Jassar stressed DAI’s cultural and artistic diplomacy did not stop after that. It continued to be an ambassador of Kuwait and the Islamic world, pointing out participation of DAI in many international art exhibitions and forums. A documentary film showed the history of Kuwait and DAI, then Sheikha Jawaher Ibrahim Duaij Al-Sabah moderated a session where several ambassadors of Kuwait spoke about their experience in the field of the art of diplomacy and its important role in supporting Kuwaiti diplomacy around the world.