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The majority of the DDFIA’s collection of about 2,500 objects is housed at Shangri La, many of which are embedded into the structure of the buildings. Additional examples of Islamic art from the collection are on view in the following exhibitions and permanent installations, both in Honolulu and across the continental United States.

Permanent Exhibitions expand icon

Arts of the Islamic World Gallery

The Arts of the Islamic World Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art explores art from across the Islamic world and offers an introduction to works visitors will encounter during a tour of Shangri La. Objects on view from the Shangri La collection highlight the diversity of fine and decorative arts in Islamic cultures throughout the world, spanning the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, and include ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and glassware.

 Chair, North Africa, 19th century (65.79)Bottle, Iran (Shiraz), 18th to 19th century (47.3)Coffee cup (zarf), Switzerland, late 19th century (44.8.2a-b)

My People

Two-part mural completed on site at Shangri La by artist-in-residence Bahia Shehab during her August 2018 residency. On view in the Banyan Courtyard. 

Exile & Rebirth

Mural completed on site at Shangri La by artist, Reem Bassous in 2018. Currently on view by the pond next to the Mughal Galleries. 


Two original site-specific murals by artist, Kris Goto, on view in the Moon Garden. 

Current & Upcoming Exhibitions expand icon

Hayv Kahraman:  To the Land of the Waqwaq
March 29, 2019 - August 4, 2019 at Shangri La

Hayv Kahraman:  Superfluous Bodies
March 23, 2019 - August 4, 2019 at Honolulu Museum of Art

Alef: Scripts and Lettering in Islamic Calligraphy
December 2019 - February 2020
The Manuscript Gallery

Past Exhibitions expand icon

Faig Ahmed
January 19, 2019 - July 13, 2019 at Shangri La
January 26, 2019 - June 2, 2019 at the Honolulu Museum of Art

An exhibition of the textiles works of Shangri La artist-in-residence (January 12-22, 2019), Faig Ahmed (b. 1982, Azerbaijan). Ahmed's surreal textile sculptures incorporate and reinterpret traditional carpet-weaving techniques from his native country into hyper-contemporary forms. 

The Art of Looking: Spotlight Objects
October 2017 to March 2019
The Moroccan Room Gallery

The Art of Looking: Spotlight Objects is a rotating exhibition that offers a deeper look at some of the artworks from the museum's collection.

The Reflections of Shangri La - Bahia Shehab
September 27, 2018 - January 13, 2019
Arts of the Islamic World Gallery, Honolulu Museum of Art

The Shahnameh
October 4, 2017 to February 5, 2018
The Powder Room Gallery

A selection of folios from the Shahnameh, the Persian "Book of Kings."

Under the Molsri Tree
May 18, 2017 - September 3, 2017
Arts of the Islamic World Gallery, Honolulu Museum of Art

Pakistani artist Noorjehan Bilgrami pays homage to the fragrant, blossomed trees beneath which she played as a child in Hyderabad, Deccan, in these photomontages. Referencing history through family photographs from the early 20th century, these large-format, sepia tone photomontages are enhanced with discreet washes and embellished with accents of gold. The stitching effect, reminiscent of ralli (quilt) work found in traditional Sindh textiles, tacks together and seals a prominent square that echoes throughout the series. The artworks serve as sites of memories with questions of dwelling and passage forming a rich, ambivalent landscape.

Bilgrami was an artist in residence at Shangri La, May 4-19, 2017.

Symmetry and Islamic Art
December 2, 2016 - February 24, 2017 - University of Hawaii at Manoa's Hamilton Library
January 11 - March 16, 2016 - Hawai‘i State Library

This Shangri La pop-up exhibit explored the concept of symmetry in Islamic art through works of art in Shangri La’s collection and through the landscape of Hawaii. Contact us if you are interested in hosting this educational exhibit.

 Tile panel, Iran (probably Isfahan), probably early to mid 20th century (48.423)Pastework (ablaq) in the form of an arch, Syria (Damascus), 18th to 19th century (78.3)


Rosewater sprinkler (47.8), Iran, dated 18th to 19th century. Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 2011.)Rosewater sprinkler (47.8), Iran, 18th to 19th century. Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 2011.)

Waterscapes: Islamic Architecture and Art from Doris Duke's Shangri La
April 7–November 6, 2016

On view in the second floor galleries at Rough PointThe Newport Restoration Foundation brought together two of Duke's greatest passions--her love of the water; and, her love of Islamic art and architecture-- in WaterscapesThe exhibit explored the theme of water through objects on loan from Shangri La; photographs of the property and other historic sites that inspired its many fountains, pools, and cascades; and home movies from Duke's travels in North Africa, the Middle East, and India to buy art and furnishings for the house.

The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated publication by guest curators and noted Islamic art scholars Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, with contributions by Kent Severson, conservator at Shangri La. Copies are available for purchase at Rough Point, or online here


Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art 2012–2015

Piece by contemporary artist Afruz Amighi. Heart Axe, 2011. Woven polyethylene and plexiglass, 96 x 68 in. (Photo: Afruz Amighi.)

Organized on the centenary of Doris Duke’s (1912–93) birth by guest curators Donald Albrecht, curator ofdesign for the Museum of the City of New York and Thomas Mellins, architectural historian, Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art explored the synthesis of 1930s modernist architecture, tropical landscape and Islamic art that Duke achieved at Shangri La. This was the first major exhibition about Shangri La to be shown outside Hawai‘i, taking the story of Duke’s transformative engagement with the Islamic world and her work at Shangri La to national audiences.

The exhibit featured photographs by Tim Street-Porter, archival materials, and a selection of more than 60 objects of Islamic art from the collection. The exhibition also included new art work by seven past artists-in-residence, including Zakariya Amataya, Afruz Amighi, Shezad Dawood, Emre Hüner,Walid Raad, Shahzia Sikander, and Mohamed Zakariya.

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art was on view through 2015 at the following locations:

'Doris Duke's Shangri La: A House in Paradise', edited by exhibition curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins. Doris Duke's Shangri La: A House in Paradise', edited by exhibition curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins.

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Doris Duke’s Shangri La: A House in Paradise, edited by exhibition curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins and published by Skira/Rizzoli.

Press Release

See Objects on Loan

The New York Times Review 


Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture

Shangri La was one of 50 international institutions lending collections to Beauty and Belief, a large exhibition that opened at the Brigham Young University (BYU) Museum of Art in Provo, Utah, on February 24, 2012. Curated by Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, originally from Tunisia, Beauty and Belief sought to provide “a view from within Islamic culture” to bridge differences and inspire insight through beauty. Thirteen of the 250 objects in the exhibition were from the DDFIA collection; they date from the early tenth through nineteenth centuries and include ceramics, glass, doors, hanging lamps, textiles and a page from a very early North African Qu’ran.

Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture was on view through 2013 at the following locations:

  • BYU Museum of Art, February 24, 2012–September 29, 2012
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, November 2, 2012–January 13, 2013

'Doris Duke: The Southeast Asian Art Collection' by Dr. Nancy Tingley.

Emerald Cities: Doris Duke’s Southeast Asian Collection, 2009–2010

On view at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum from October 23, 2009–January 10, 2010, this was the first major exhibition in the West to explore the rich but little known arts of Siam and Burma from the nineteenth century. Many of the 140 artworks—including gilded ritual vessels, mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture, paintings, manuscripts, textiles, and ceramics were acquired by the museum from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and were on display for the first time.

Doris Duke: The Southeast Asian Art Collection, a book by Dr. Nancy Tingley documents the history and significance of the collection. The book can be downloaded free.



On view at the East-West Center Gallery: Pair of seventeenth-century shaped Mughal carpets.

 Fields of Flowers: Woven Carpets and Mughal Treasures, 2008 

On view at the East-West Center Gallery, East-West Center, in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, from September 24–December 12, 2008, this exhibition focused on mid-seventeenth-century Mughal Indian floral motifs as found in a rare pair of large, unusually shaped Mughal carpets.

Other works of art inspired by Mughal floral patterns, including brassware, paintings, stonework, woodwork and textiles, were featured in the exhibition. Photographs and video demonstrated the objects’ social and historical context. The exhibition was co-sponsored by the East-West Center. 



Enduring Threads: Central Asian Embroidered Textiles, 2005–2006 

On view at the East-West Center Gallery, East-West Center, in Honolulu, Hawai‘i from November 7, 2005–January 19, 2006, this exhibition presented a selection of suzanis from the DDFIA collection. Suzanis are part of a textile tradition that showcases bold and colorful embroidery. Historically made by women for daughters’ dowries, suzanis decorate homes as wall hangings, bedding and curtains, among other decor.

Photographs of Uzbekistan were exhibited with thesuzanis to provide an overview of the culture and society in which these textiles were produced. The exhibition was presented in partnership with the East-West Center Arts Program.

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