Paris Pompidou Centre to help set up Saudi museum

Published: 05:46 PM, 15 Mar, 2023
Paris Pompidou Centre to help set up Saudi museum
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The Pompidou Centre in Paris has signed an agreement to help create a modern art museum in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ula heritage site, dedicated to Arab artists, it said Wednesday.

The Pompidou, France's leading museum of contemporary art, also told AFP it may open a branch in South Korea in 2025, with more details due soon.

The agreement with Saudi Arabia was signed at the weekend in the presence of the kingdom's culture minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, and his French counterpart Rima Abdul Malak, according to a museum statement.

The new museum will be based at Al-Ula, home to ancient tombs and monuments in the northwest of the country, with an opening planned for 2027 or 2028.

The Pompidou will provide "scientific and technical expertise in training staff, particularly in conservation, collection management and mediation," it said.

It may also provide support for "cultural and event programming".

The Pompidou will partner with the Al-Ula Royal Commission, and they have three months to finalise financial details.

Pompidou president Laurent Le Bon, then head of the Picasso Museum, was part of a French delegation to the kingdom in 2019 alongside then-culture minister Franck Riester.

The visit was controversial, coming just a year after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Turkish embassy.

Riyadh has radically eased social restrictions under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman though critics say it is a bid to ensure his continued authoritarian rule and distract from human rights abuses.


Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.