Wednesday, March 9, 2016

US Ambassador hosts Art in Embassies exhibition

Silliman image from article

The US Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas Silliman has recently hosted an art exhibition at his residence in the US embassy, showcasing a various collection of artworks by contemporary American artists to the Kuwaiti public.

The event, which took place Tuesday evening as part of the US Department of State's Art in Embassies (AIE) Program, was attended by a large number of audiences, including several prominent Kuwaiti figures in arts, culture, social, and business fields.

"The Art in Embassies Program was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy to give audiences abroad a chance to personally experience America's heritage and values through art," Ambassador Silliman said in his speech to the attendants.

"The US administration at that time felt that one of the best ways to make people in other countries understand the heritage and culture of the United States was to show them our works of art," he added.

The US diplomat also indicated that AIE program has played a leading role in his country's public diplomacy as a way to engage, educate, and inspire global audiences, showing how art can transcend borders and build connections among people.

"As a theme for this exhibition, we tried to find works that show the connection between land and water. Most of our works here have to do with where the land meets the sea and how people react toward it," Ambassador Silliman told KUNA.

He also indicated that Kuwaitis and Americans share close ties to the sea, with both nations enjoying long coastlines, countless number of sea activities, and love of seafood, stressing the importance of preserving and protecting marine natural resources for future generations to enjoy and utilize, as many generations of Kuwaitis have done in the past.

Meanwhile, renowned Kuwaiti artist and sculptor Sami Mohammad, whose pioneering artworks have spanned for over fifty years, expressed his joy and appreciation of the US Embassy's initiative in inviting many veteran Kuwaiti artists to the event to view the works of contemporary American artists.

"This event definitely helps in boosting cultural ties between Kuwait and the United States, particularly artists of both countries," Mohammad told KUNA, expressing his hope that Kuwaiti diplomatic missions abroad follow "this American approach in order to expose the international audiences to the Kuwaiti art and highlight the talents of Kuwaiti artists outside the country.

For his part, Abdulrasoul Salman, Chairman of Kuwait Arts Association, stated to KUNA that the AIE program shows Washington's keen interest in arts and culture, adding that hosting this significant event at the US Ambassador's residence contributes in consolidating bilateral cultural ties between the two countries.

"In an initial step, we have proposed to the US Ambassador to transfer this art gallery to the Kuwait Arts Association's headquarters in order to enable wider Kuwaiti audiences to be acquainted with American contemporary artworks, which will help in bolstering ties between Kuwaiti and American artists," Salman said.

The US Ambassador's residence also contains a permanent art collection, incorporating paintings and sculptures by prominent Kuwaiti artists, as well as works by American and Middle Eastern artists.

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