Shangri La in Honolulu is a center for Islamic arts and cultures, providing guided tours, programs for improving understanding of the Islamic World, and residencies for artists and scholars. The site, built in 1937, was originally the Honolulu home of American philanthropist and heiress Doris Duke. Inspired by Doris Duke's travels in South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, the site reflects styles of architecture from Syria, Morocco, Iran, and India. The museum is designed to teach visitors about the culture of Islamic design and art through programs, tours, exhibits, community partnerships, and educational and digital initiatives.
Guided tours of Shangri La are available for by reserving a spot in advance. The tour lasts about two and a half hours in its entirety, ninety minutes being spent at Shangri La. Every tour begins and end at the Honolulu Museum of Art, from there visitors will be transported by van to Shangri La. Tickets for the tour include the transportation and admission to the permanent exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art as well.
The Honolulu Museum of Art acts as an orientation center for Shangri La, in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The permanent exhibit focused on Islamic art at the Honolulu Museum of Art is the Arts of the Islamic World Gallery. This exhibition showcases art from throughout the Islamic world, providing an introduction to the artwork guest will discover at Shangri La. Works displayed from the Shangri La collection at the Honolulu Museum of Art highlight the diversity of decorative and fine arts in Islamic cultures across the globe, spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and includes works in glassware, furniture, jewelry, and ceramics.
Among the works seen at Shangri La are tilework, carpets, textiles, and furnishings among others. The DDFIA collection's largest component is ceramic arts, in terms of media. Both tilework and ceramic vessels are represented in the collection, however, the clear strength of the collection is its tilework. The tilework highlights of the collection are suggestive of the domestic circumstances of Doris Duke, her desire to cover the expansive walls of her home. Four noteworthy sub-collections are Pahlavi, Qajar, Ottoman, and Ilkhanid.
Another part of the collection at Shangri La are Late-Ottoman Syrian furnishings and interiors. The museum's holdings of late-Ottoman Syrian architecture and art includes two interiors, the Syrian Room and the Damascus Room, and associated architectural elements and furnishings displayed elsewhere. The two rooms feature 18th and/or 19th century architectural elements in glass, stone, and wood. When the interiors were created, the Ottoman Empire controlled Syria, hence the name of the collection.
The works of art Doris Duke collected were often based on her desire to acquire works that could be used or displayed in her home. This desire resulted in her procurement of an array of textiles for avariety of functional purposes. She acquired Spanish, Indian, and Persian carpets for floor coverings, Turkish and Persian velvets for vitrines décor, Indian and Egyptian appliques to block glaring sunlight, and Central Asian embroideries for coverings walls and couches.
4055 Papu Circle, Honolulu, Hawaii, Phone: 808-734-1941