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National Gallery mosaic exhibits celebrate artistic bridge between Jordan, Italy

By Taija PerryCook - Jul 12,2023 - Last updated at Jul 12,2023

HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali speaks with a Jordanian artist during the opening of mosaic exhibits at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts on Monday (Photo by Taija PerryCook)

AMMAN — The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts on Monday celebrated the opening of two exhibits titled “With the Mosaic, Contemporaneity in Ravenna” and “The Invisible Cities” before an Italian-Jordanian audience.

Deputising for HRH Princess Wijdan Ali, president of the Royal Society of Fine Arts, HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali attended the opening.

“It’s a new interpretation; it’s modern artwork, and every artist does their work in their own style, in a contemporary way,” said Khalid Khreis, director general of the gallery.

The 43 selected artworks defy traditional limitations, instead bravely taking new shapes and pushing unexplored creative boundaries. There are mosaics in the form of sculpture, reflections of stars on water, letters on book pages, mosaics inspired by watercolour paintings and even mosaics in the form of animal hide rugs.

Both Italy and Jordan have a rich history of mosaic artistry, and the exhibits, which will run through August 14, were designed to honour both nations’ artistic legacies.

The formal opening was shared in Arabic and Italian as well as English.

“Of course I find inspiration from the ancient mosaics, but I always find new ways to express myself through different materials and techniques,” said Arianna Gallo Barberini, an artist from Ravenna whose artwork is featured in the exhibit.

Alongside the Italian artists featured, the work of three Jordanian artists, Mohamad Salem, Sonia Twal and Baha’a Jankhot, was displayed. Their art, free adaptations of other works, depicts scenes across Jordan such as the ancient ruins of Jerash, Luzmila Hospital in Amman and the Roman theatre and skyline of Amman.

“Most of the time I do something that I can see in everyday life,” said Jankhot, who grew up in Amman.

When the exhibit concludes in Amman, it will be transported to Ravenna and displayed as a part of an exhibit beginning in October, which will give the featured Jordanian artists an opportunity to share their work beyond Jordan.

Deputy Mayor of Ravenna Annagiulia Randi shared with the audience that such a cultural exchange will only strengthen the bond between these two cities and their nations.

Aref Al Rawajeeh, the mayor of Madaba, was also in attendance and highlighted that his municipality is actively working to establish a mosaic art network across the Mediterranean.

The gallery expressed appreciation for the presence and support of Princess Basma Bint Ali on behalf of Princess Wijdan Ali, Minister of Culture Haifa Al Najjar, Deputy Head of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy Fabio Rainieri and Deputy Mayor of Ravenna Annagiulia Randi.

“We have to create a dialogue between countries because we believe that through art… we can build bridges,” Khreis said.

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