Today is an exceptionally remarkable day; it is the day the DAI reached the age of maturity; the age of brilliance and radiance; the age of forty. It is the age in which the souls of the prophets prepare to receive the flow of boundless beauty from Allah Almighty and stand ready to carry the sublime message to the world. This is an opportunity to reflect on the past, and tell the story of this extraordinary experience that is summarized by the name “Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah”.
The first to remember on this occasion is the visionary, the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, to whom the credit belongs for collecting these objects and founding The al-Sabah Collection. These efforts culminated in the establishment of the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah in 1983, transforming an individual passion into an entity with an identity shaped by the nature of various pieces of artistic and cultural values in Islamic history.
Since the establishment of the DAI, we have adopted the mission of reaching out to other cultures. We are achieving this through our participation in international exhibitions and cultural dialogue and we have strived to make the titles of our exhibitions, publications and activities reflect that goal.
The first exhibition hosted by the DAI was Masahif Sana’a from Yemen in 1985, and the first international presence of the DAI was Islamic Art and Patronage: Treasures from Kuwait at the Hermitage Museum, Russia in 1990.
From there, our objects toured North America, Europe and the Middle East. The tour ended in Auckland, the capital of New Zealand, after being shown in Sydney, Australia. At every destination, the exhibition garnered great admiration and support for Kuwait.
Today, the DAI has reached its fortieth year, not to grow old, but to intensify its beauty and splendour, and to affirm its presence.