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RCU signs agreement with Centre Pompidou

Partnership to significantly enrich AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage

ALULA, Saudi Arabia: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has signed an agreement with a leading French cultural institution, the Centre Pompidou, that will significantly enrich AlUla as a leading global destination for cultural and natural heritage.

The agreement was signed by the Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries for the Royal Commission for AlUla, and the Center Pompidou President in presence of H.H. Prince Badr bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of Culture and Governor of RCU, and Rima Abdul Malak, the French Culture Minister, during the latter’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Centre Pompidou will be RCU’s key partner in developing a contemporary art museum at AlUla as a world centre for regional and global 21st-century art. Designed as an archipelago of pavilions interspersed with a mosaic of artists’ gardens, this architectural landmark will symbolise AlUla’s living legacy as a cross-cultural beacon, which continues to attract global collaborations.

The museum will be a centre for the art of our time with artists from the Arab world in dialogue with global art. The galleries will be a pioneer in museum architecture, housing a dynamic programme of collection displays, exhibitions, commissions and artists’ gardens.

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The agreement also exemplifies the global growth of RCU’s network of partners, which across the arts and culture space include Canon, Louvre, The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts (TRITA), Misk Art Institute, Germany’s Deutsches Archäologisches Institut and the University of Western Australia for archaeology, among others.

Nora Aldabal, Arts AlUla Executive Director, Royal Commission for AlUla, said: “Our collaboration with Centre Pompidou is another important step in our goal of empowering a thriving community of local artists, and driving knowledge and skills within the sector as we create viable opportunities for economic advancement as part of our continued transformation into a Living Museum.”

The RCU-Pompidou partnership will span fields across the cultural, arts, and creative spaces, including training and education; curatorial expertise; museum management; and events and exhibitions.

Each side brings unique value to the partnership.

The AlUla contemporary museum will offer a collection of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian 21st-century art; immersive installations by artists from each inhabited continent; a collection of work related to 21st-century land art; a commissioning programme including art in the public realm; specialist curatorial expertise and scholarship in Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian art; and access to global Arabic-speaking audiences.

The reciprocal relationship will be built on collections, including collection display and a special relationship for museum loans; curatorial partnerships; shared museological expertise; and audience development.

The new agreement follows strengthened collaborations between Saudi Arabia and France at AlUla.

On December 22, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Olivier Becht visited AlUla and signed investment partnerships spanning landscaping, mobility and waste management. And on December 2, Saudi and French officials and experts celebrated the 20th anniversary of the two countries’ modern-day collaboration on archaeological research at AlUla.

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