Text of Begum Salimah's speech at Zamana Gallery

September 30, 1987

Your Excellencies My Lord Madam Mayor Ladies and Gentlemen It is a great honour for me to welcome Her Majesty the Queen of Jordan.

I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to Her Majesty for having made this visit to London to open the exhibition of Mr Nicholas Egon's paintings of Jordan.

Jordan inhabited since the earliest ages known to man, is a land in which many great civilisations have flourished, each leaving a precious legacy.

From the stone age settlement at Tal-es-Sultan to the magnificent city of Petra, from the ornate Byzantine buildings to the imposing desert castles of the Umayad Caliphs, this heritage underlines significant phases of man's cultural development.

Modern Jordan, with its excellent Universities and Research Academies, has a lively artistic and intellectual life, led and encouraged by Royal Patronage.

It is a significant fact that the Hachemite Kingdom of today is a more than worthy successor to the historical Jordan of the past: it is an increasingly bright cultural centre in a region which has long been a point of contact between Islamic civilisations and Europe.

However, there still exists to day a wide gap in the mutual understanding between different parts of the world In the West, much attentions is paid to reporting international conflicts, political upheavals, economic crises and natural disasters that occur in the non-Western world.

This is unavoidable, but should not be to the exclusion of other aspects of man's life, the universe of his intellect.

In a world fraught with tension, the possibility to gain an understanding of the Arts and Cultures of diverse peoples is surely one of the most effective ways of improving international relationships.

It is with these needs and concerns in mind that the Zamana Gallery was conceived in order to provide a window through which can be viewed the rapidly changing societies of Islamic countries, past and present , through their arts, crafts and architectures .

We are therefore most grateful to Your Majesty for coming here for this occasion; your presence enhances the effectiveness of this Institution in placing due emphasis and focus on the importance of the Arts. The Zamana Gallery is delighted to exhibit the paintings of Mr Egon, whose love and knowledge of the Hachemite Kingdom of Jordan is masterfully illustrated in his admirable work.

Honoured guests, I now have the privilege of asking Her Majesty to declare this exhibition open.


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