RCU and Centre Pompidou officials at the agreement-signing
RCU-Centre Pompidou to develop art museum in AlUla
AlUla, November 28, 2023
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has signed an agreement with Paris-based Centre Pompidou to formalise, strengthen, and expand collaboration and knowledge sharing ahead of the establishment of a new contemporary art museum in AlUla in 2027.
Officially signed in Paris on November 27, the new Executive Programme Agreement aims to build on the long-time cultural partners’ shared principles of reciprocity, skills transfer, and creates a strategic roadmap towards a more expansive and mutually beneficial working relationship in sectors related to the promotion and conservation of art, culture, science, and heritage.
The agreement builds on a memorandum of understanding signed between RCU and Centre Pompidou in March to develop a world-class contemporary art museum in AlUla, with defined multi-year phases leading up to its public opening in 2027.
RCU has made significant progress in its plans to establish the new museum, including the announcement of Lina Gotmeh as architect tasked with creating what will be a new cultural destination for AlUla, Saudi Arabia, and the wider region.
Chosen for her track-record of high-quality designs that merge outstanding levels of creativity with sustainability, most notably demonstrated in her acclaimed 2023 Serpentine Pavilion in London, the new museum will reflect Gotmeh’s responsible, considered, and conscious vision of a modern art landmark inspired by AlUla.
Carbon efficient and merging sensitively into AlUla’s Oasis, the museum will set new standards in sustainable design, showcasing how architecture can be a catalyst for urban regeneration and environmental renewal while offering opportunities for engagement with the community through a calendar of workshops, school programmes, and more.
A hub for cultural and artistic expression, the museum promises to create a platform for critical thinking in contemporary art by offering a regional and international collection that highlights the artists' overall production and unique artistic research.
The museum is building its legacy through various initiatives, including art residencies, exhibitions, commissions, and publications. The residencies have facilitated artistic production from artists such as Daniah Saleh (Saudi Arabia), Muhannad Shono (Saudi Arabia), and Sabine Mirlesse (France/USA) as well as the art in the landscape program commissions works from artists like Manal Aldowayan (Saudi Arabia), Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim (UAE), Superflex (Denmark), and Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana), among others.
The museum’s early collaborations are initiating its own ecosystem as it begins to position itself as a world-class institution, said a statement.
The signing of the new agreement is an opportunity to fine-tune and enhance the existing eco-system of successful partnerships and cross-cultural cooperations between RCU and Centre Pompidou. It sets out a working framework of clear priorities, new proposals, and collaborative activities to be pursued over the next four years.
With a defined artistic and curatorial strategy, the programme allows for the ongoing exchange, acquisition, loan, and display of art works and artefacts between RCU and Centre Pompidou, as well as the promotion of various scientific and cultural initiatives based around the sharing of unique items from each partner’s collection.
Centre Pompidou’s experience and expertise in creating a comprehensive strategy to attract international visitors, host major cultural events and productions, and in establishing opportunities for advocacy and audience development, will support RCU’s goal of transforming AlUla into the world's largest living museum and a global hub for cultural and heritage tourism.
Nora Aldabal said: “The signing of the Executive Programme Agreement between RCU and Centre Pompidou marks a new phase in our mutually beneficial partnership that is helping to define successful cross-cultural collaborations between AlUla and our colleagues at one of France’s leading institutions.
“By establishing a clear roadmap of growth that covers key areas of cooperation in diverse sectors related to culture, heritage, and art, this partnership will allow for the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and new ideas. It will give colleagues from Paris and AlUla the chance to work closely in important fields related to museology, and to contribute to the development of AlUla’s new contemporary art museum. Both sides of this partnership have a great deal to offer and a great to learn from the other. I look forward to deepening RCU’s relationship with Centre Pompidou.”