Iraqi Ambassador to Kuwait Ala Al-Hashemi (front, R) introduces exhibits to visitors at an Iraqi exhibition in Farwaniya Governorate, Kuwait, on April 4, 2019. Kuwait hosted an Iraqi exhibition on Thursday and Friday to strengthen relations between the two countries. (Xinhua/Asad)
KUWAIT CITY, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Kuwait hosted an Iraqi exhibition on Thursday to strengthen relations between the two countries.
Ala Al-Hashemi, Iraqi ambassador to Kuwait, told Xinhua that the two-day exhibition, entitled "Mesopotamia is a cultural heritage," was the first Iraqi exhibition since the Gulf War in 1991.
The exhibition was opened in response to the directives of the Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to support Iraq, the ambassador added.
He said that Kuwait plans to host an Iraqi cultural week, which the Iraqi Ministry of Culture is preparing to organize for the upcoming period.
Al-Hashemi pointed out that cultural events support political relations and contribute to overcoming the past.
"We build bridges between the two peoples and we seek to overcome instead of forgetting the invasion to reach a better stage in relations between the two countries," he said.
The exhibition shed light on the ancient and modern aspects of the civilization of Mesopotamia through a collection owned by Kuwaiti collector Hassan Jassim Ashkanani, which included pictures of Iraq taken by Iraqi photographers.
The exhibition attracted many visitors who are interested in seeing the original and documented reports by foreign travelers visiting Kuwait and Iraq during the period of 1861 to 1933, including British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley and British traveller and archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, Ashkanani, professor of archeology and anthropology at Kuwait University, told Xinhua that his participation in the exhibition was part of his cooperation with Kuwait University and the Iraqi Embassy.
The exhibition aimed to display the rich cultural heritage of the land of Iraqi civilizations where Sumerian, Chaldean, and Babylonian were the first civilizations in the world, he said.
Ashkanani collected more than 13,000 photographs of Iraqi sites in recent years during his visits to Iraq.
"Our duty as specialists is to highlight the bright side of our land and our region. This is a message from us that sport, art, literature, and culture are cross-border and can resolve any dispute," he said.
The relations between Kuwait and Iraq have been strengthened in recent years.
In mid-February 2018, Kuwait hosted an international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq after the liberation of its territory from Islamic State. Iraqi President Barham Salih made his first visit to Kuwait during his Gulf tour after his election at the end of last year.
Kuwaiti citizen Jassem Abbas expressed his happiness to see such exhibitions to be held, hoping to hold more on an annual basis and expand to books and movies.
"It happened in many conflicts in the world. The two countries always get along after years of wars. We have now a good relationship with Iraq and we can witness that by the daily flights from Kuwait to Baghdad and Najaf in Iraq," he said.
Hamed Abel, a Kuwaiti citizen, expressed his enthusiasm to attend the Iraqi art exhibitions in his country.
"We are longing for such exhibitions to turn the page of the past. We are brothers and neighbors and these exhibitions promote the spirit of love and brotherhood between the two peoples," he said.