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Artists take part in cultural exchange between Jordan and the Netherlands

By JT - Sep 13,2021 - Last updated at Sep 13,2021

Open Art Shuffle is a street art and cultural exchange initiative between Dutch and Jordanian artists where the artists get to swap countries, ideas and cultures (Photo courtesy of Open Art Shuffle)

AMMAN — This year the Open Art Museum is collaborating with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan to bring “Open Art Shuffle” to life. 

Open Art Shuffle is a street art and cultural exchange initiative between Dutch and Jordanian artists where the artists get to swap countries, ideas and cultures, while leaving behind beautiful works of art in the form of large-scale murals, according to a statement from the organisers. 

The murals’ themes centre around food security, water and intercultural exchange. They aim to shed light on the social, economic and environmental significance of these topics to both the Netherlands and Jordan.

The murals also signify the special relationship between Jordan and the Netherlands in terms of agricultural cooperation, and the importance of sharing of knowledge and best practices, the statement said. 

Jordanian artists Yazan Mesmar and Miramar Al Nayyar completed two large murals in the city of Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands. Both murals, which measure 15m x 9m, are painted on the outer columns of the Markt058 building. 

“Many special traditions that help us nurture deep friendships with our neighbours have been developed by Jordanian communities. For example, when someone shares food with us we later return the plate filled with fruit, sweets or a recipe to show our appreciation. I activated the spirit of the ‘returning the plate’ tradition to conceptualise a mural that would honour and extend the important relationship between Jordan and the Netherlands,” said Nayyar.

She added: “My mural depicts another important feature of Jordan’s natural landscape: The flowering palm tree. While palm trees grow all over Jordan, they are not present in the Netherlands due the cold winters. Therefore, I decided to use my art to donate the Netherlands a palm tree that will flourish all year long.” 

Mesmar said: “Jordan has the highest rate of female participation in agriculture in the MENA region. My mural depicts a portrait of a proud woman, in a dress inspired by the traditional northern dresses that were worn to celebrate the beginning and end of the harvest season. The woman is surrounded by tulips, the national flower of the Netherlands to signify the transfer of knowledge and experience between the two nations and people.” 

The Dutch artist duo Studio Giftig and Tymonde Laat will travel to Jordan from the Netherlands at the end of September to create their murals in the capital city of Amman. 

This Open Art Shuffle initiative is financed by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan. 

The exchange was supported by Writers Block, Street Art Antwerp, the Greater Amman Municipality and the Jordan Tourism Board.

In 2018, the Dutch government designated Jordan as a priority country for reception of refugees in the region and committed 200 million euros for development cooperation.

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