Kuwait in Rome: Islamic Art, Military Aircrafts and Heritage Restoration Funds

Kuwait in Rome: Islamic Art, Military Aircrafts and Heritage Restoration Funds

Rome and the state of Kuwait are developing a multi-pronged relationship that sees the combination of art, warcraft and finance for landmark restoration.


On the Roman side, the city government with its mayor are very active as well as the Italian state-controlled defense and aeronautics holding Finmeccanica.


The most visible effect so far of this cooperation is the exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale of the Royal Family’s collection.


The Scuderie del Quirinale is one of the top exposition venues in Rome. And while having a late July to mid September exhibition is not ideal to draw a large number of visitors, the discounted price was an interesting bonus for many. But this exhibition premium is the content itself: an incredible collection of artworks from the 7th to the 16th centuries coming from Northern Africa and the Middle East. Something you don’t actually see in any Roman museum.


With a massive use of geographic maps the exhibition helps you to grasp the huge scope of the Islamic civilization. And the greatest quality of this set up is that it really shows you how vast it was and how it encompassed countries which were so different from each other: from southern Spain to western China, from northern India to Morocco.


Not a single item was actually made in Kuwait. Not even from the other countries of the Gulf or of the Arabic Peninsula. Algeria and Libya are also completely missing from this exhibition. While Iran is clearly the cultural, historical and artistic powerhouse of the collection on show. Very little from Sicily – short Muslim domination – Morocco and China at the very periphery of the Islamic Civilization – respectively West and East. India plays a surprisingly important role, especially in the last room for which you have to save some extra time and energy.


The Scuderie will also host a very interesting program of free lectures, shows and movies about the Islamic Civilization from September 3 to the 15th.


The exhibition’s sponsor is not by coincidence Finemeccanica, the holding of Alenia Aermacchi, the country’s biggest aircraft maker. On the back of a very good relationship between the Italian and the Kuwaiti Air Forces, Alenia is about to sell dozens of fighters to Kuwait. With an unrestrained Iran again and ISIS still hitting hard, Kuwait probably wants to have some retaliation power with air strikes in the region in case of attacks (like the mosque bombing in June).


Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino started courting Kuwait officials since last year and the 2015 Expo in Milan offered another good occasion for another encounter. Kuwait should earmark funds for the restoration of Rome’s heritage and we already offered the Scuderie del Quirinale to show off their art collections.


But Kuwait is not the only Gulf country who is being very active in the Roman scene as you can read in this post.