Rendering of the future Lusail Museum building

Lusail Museum

We are creating a museum like no other: a museum of ideas – ideas around movement, encounters, exchange and identity.

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Lusail Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Orientalist paintings. It is this extraordinary collection that, as early as 2006, inspired the new museum project and remains the inspiration for the museum’s vision and narrative.

Lusail Museum asks, how can Orientalist art be presented today, in a museum in the Arab world?

A man wrapped in pink fabric sits cross legged on a carpet, a musical instrument in the background.

Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Black Bard, 1888, oil on canvas, 61.2 x 50.8 cm. Lusail Museum Collection. Photo: © Lusail Museum, Qatar Museums, 2022

What can we learn about 19th-century power structures and the construction of Arab identity from these paintings, and how do they continue to influence perceptions?

Painting of a man in a traditional Arab headdress on horseback, wielding a sword.

Eugène Delacroix, Arab Horseman at the Gallop, 1849, oil on canvas, 54 x 45.1 cm. Lusail Museum Collection. Photo: © Lusail Museum, Qatar Museums, 2022

How have these paintings inspired film, photography and other media which may reinforce stereotypes of Arab identity?

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Saverio Pavone. Lawrence of Arabia movie poster, 1962. Paper and linen; 20.6 x 20.6 cm. General Collection – Doha. Photo: courtesy of Qatar Museums, General Collection ©2023

How can we display these paintings as an inspiration for productive contemplation, conversation and debate around contemporary identities, shifting the discourse and reversing the gaze?

Painting of a girl in a yellow striped headdress, peeling a pomegranate.

William Bouguereau, Girl with a Pomegranate, 1875, oil on canvas, 59 x 44.5 cm. Lusail Museum Collection. Photo: © Lusail Museum, Qatar Museums, 2022

Lusail Museum Think Tank

Lusail Museum will address these questions and many more through its permanent galleries and programming, guided by the Lusail Museum Think Tank. Unique in the region, the museum’s Think Tank will host local and international thought-leaders, artists, curators, academics, and students in a series of fellowship programmes, workshops and convenings to address questions of contemporary Arab identity, inspired and provoked by the collection. The outputs from the Think Tank will shape the museum’s activities, including exhibitions, and programming, ensuring a dynamic and evolving experience for visitors and participants within the museum’s physical and digital spaces.

Line drawing of a group of men socializing in a cafe

Camille Rogier, A Turkish Café, 1862. Pen, Ink & Wash; 13.5 x 19.8 cm. Lusail Museum Collection - Doha. Photo: courtesy of Qatar Museums, General Collection ©2023

Lusail Museum and Sheikh Jassim

Lusail Museum, designed by the Pritzker Prize–winning Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, will be located on Al Maha Island in Lusail just north of Doha. Lusail was the home of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani, the Founder of Qatar, and his story will be woven throughout the museum. Sheikh Jassim lived during a period when the western world was captivated by the Arab and Indian Ocean worlds and the Orientalist gaze was burgeoning. In founding the state of Qatar, Sheikh Jassim defended his people’s cultural independence from the Ottomans and the British through a tumultuous period of colonial strife. Qatar today, a cosmopolitan and influential hub, is directly connected to Sheikh Jassim’s legacy — an independent nation with strong international bonds.

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Architectural rendering by Herzog & de Meuron showing the side entrance of the future Lusail Museum building. Image courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron ©2023

Lusail Museum Exhibitions

To launch the current phase of museum development, Lusail Museum presented four exhibitions during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, a moment when the world came to Doha.

Profile of a man wearing a white turban.

Titian, Suleyman the Magnificent, ca. 1540, oil on canvas, 72.4 x 61 cm. Lusail Museum Collection. Photo: © Lusail Museum, Qatar Museums, 2022

Lusail Museum: Tales of a Connected World

The overarching exhibition, Lusail Museum: Tales of a Connected World, comprised almost 250 objects, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, manuscripts and decorative arts. The exhibition acted as a ‘prefiguration’ for the future museum, offering innovative and contextual displays to encourage visitors to consider and question the nature of identity presented in the works on display, including complex and challenging issues of race and gender. An immersive, interactive digital trail complemented the exhibition, and activations included a rolling programme of short films by young filmmakers from the Doha Film Institute and soundscapes introducing historical and contemporary musicians from around the world.

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The central space of the exhibition was curated by Herzog & de Meuron, who used models, samples and projections to present the evolution of their architectural concept, a concept that merges local materiality with regional vernacular architectural elements to reflect the diversity of cultures across the Arab world.

The three accompanying exhibitions were:

Experience Al Jazeera

A replica of the Al Jazeera studios at the Experience Al Jazeera exhibition in the Fire Station

Experience Al Jazeera was created for the network’s 25th anniversary, celebrating the emergence of a voice from the Arab world that has become a pioneer in the contemporary media landscape both regionally and globally.

Labour of Love: Embroidering Palestinian History

A gallery showcasing Palestinian dresses embroidered with a symbol of the Palestinian flag with posters in the back depicting war times in Palestine

Labour of Love: Embroidering Palestinian History was a loan exhibition from the Palestinian Museum, presenting the art of embroidery as a means for understanding Palestinian identity. Palestine carries a complex contemporary history and is a narrative that Lusail Museum seeks to better understand.

Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyū: A Living Tradition of Japanese Pottery


Raku Kichizaemon XV·Jikinyū: A Living Tradition of Japanese Pottery displayed a set of fourteen ceremonial tea bowls created for the exhibition, inspired by Qatar’s natural environment and people, and featuring the poetry of Sheikh Jassim.