France’s Centre Pompidou to Open New Art Museum in Saudi Arabia

France’s Centre Pompidou Decided to Expand in Saudi Arabia, and Open New Art Museum in Al-Ula Cultural Complex.

Feb 10, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
France’s Centre Pompidou
France’s Centre Pompidou


France’s Centre Pompidou is expanding in Saudi Arabia. This comes as a part of more comprehensive cross-cultural cooperation with France. The center is currently working on stabilizing cooperation and signing contracts with the Saudi government. Also, the AlUla complex represents the biggest museum on earth.


France’s Centre Pompidou Signs $2 Million Contract

Al-Ula Cultural Complex


The Centre Pompidou is currently collaborating with the Saudi government on signing a one-year-long contract. Overall, the price of this collaboration includes $2.1 million. The goal is to construct a brand-new gallery for modern art. Gallery’s name will be Perspective Galleries.


Also, Perspective Galerries institution will be a part of a deeper societal complex. The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud was the one who constructed this site. Also, he did it in collaboration with French President Emmanuel Macron. This clearly shows a strong alliance between the two countries.


France’s Centre Pompidou


The architect hired to design the gallery is Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh. She will also get help from Pompidou’s experts in conservation and educational strategy. Also, The Pompidou center has many locations all over the world. There are ones in Brussels, Jersey city, Malaga and Shangai. If plans come to life, Perspective Galleries will be the last constructed institution in this huge world complex.

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Prince is investing $5.2 billion in AlUla’s initial construction. The construction is divided into three phases. The first one is for 2023, the second for 2030, and the last one is for 2035. This project could really strengthen the relationship between Saudi Arabia and France.


Villa Hegra Connects Arab and European World

Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr (Mada’in Saleh), or Hegra. Photo © Royal Commission for AlUla.


The 2018 deal between the two countries preceded this new collaboration. First, they signed a plan certified for ten years. Overall, it includes France’s support of Saudi Arabia’s 15 billion plan. This plan should turn Al-Ula into an international center of culture. It will include museums, artifacts from antiquity, and a brand-new tramway system.


Last week, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia discussed the details of AlUla’s addition, Villa Hegra. The Villa Hegra is an artist and creative incubator built around a number of complimentary cultural venues. Also, its venue is inspired by France’s most esteemed cultural organizations.


Rendering of the Nabataean District’s Nabataean Theater in AlUla. Image ©Royal Commission for AlUla.


Lacaton and Vassal agency from Paris will design the villa. Also, former Château de Chantilly head Fériel Fodil will be an executive director. The Villa will not open soon. It will probably take a few years. But, this fact did not stop the organizations to unveil their first programs in 2023. There will be various actions: kids’ workshops, concerts in the open air and so much more.


This represents a significant turning point in the development of this important cultural institution. It completes the cultural exchange between Arab and European civilizations, started by France and Saudi Arabia. Gérard Mestrallet, AFALULA’s executive chairman, said in a statement: “Villa Hegra embodies the encounter between the heart of the Arab world and the French creative spirit”.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.