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Friday, September 20, 2002

Art exhibit opening - Rhodes

Queen Rania inaugurates an art exhibition in Rhodes which reflects the work of 51 women artists from the Islamic world

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Rhodes) "We have an important message to send (that is) our commitment to peace, tolerance, and equality, and our respect for diversity."

This was a message articulated by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to several hundred people gathered in Rhodes, Greece at an exhibition organized by the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan and Pan-Mediterranean Women Artists Network with the aim of using arts as a tool to break stereotypes of women in Islam.

The exhibition inaugurated by Queen Rania featured the work of 51 women artists from 21 Islamic countries all gathered with a common vision of promoting dialogue and painting a clearer picture on Islam.

Women artists "work in different media styles, they have had different experiences, and they come from more than a score of different countries. But they have something in common that is more important than any dissimilarity. That something is the essence of Islamic art, and all art - a spirit of creativity, humanity and insight," Queen Rania said in her remarks following the exhibition.

Queen Rania, who emerged as a strong advocate of cross-cultural dialogue aimed at dispelling misconceptions about Islam and at a better understanding between different civilizations said that through this exhibit, these artists "are truly helping to break the barriers of misunderstandings and ignorance that divide" these civilizations. "Real art connects. It connects us with ourselves and with one another. It leads us to discover new truths, and helps to illuminate the humanity we share," Queen Rania said in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Wijdan Ali, President of the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan.

All 70 paintings featured at the exhibition were chosen from the collection of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman.

The exhibition is part of the 2nd Forum for Culture and Peace held under the auspices of UNESCO and the European Parliament. The forum brings together women artists from the Mediterranean to promote intercultural dialogue and peace through art.

Women artists represented the following countries: Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Three Jordanian women artists participated in the exhibition. Queen Rania's participation in this event is part of her efforts in promoting cross-cultural dialogue.

In June this year, Queen Rania visited an Islamic center in Brussels and a Cathedral in Strasburg, where she further emphasized the need and importance of such dialogue.