Bush, Olga. "Relocating to Hawai‘i: Dwelling with Islamic art at Doris Duke’s Shangri La." In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 3, Number 2 (pp. 437-471), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2014.
This article explores Doris Duke’s (1912–93) practices as the ‘creative persona’ in building Shangri La, both her home in Hawai‘i and the fifth largest collection of Islamic art in America. Discussion begins with historical contextualization. A brief review of elite collecting in the 1930s extends the timeline of American orientalism to Duke’s project at Shangri La. Enabled by the emergence of interior design as a field for women’s creativity, her practices as the first major western female collector of Islamic art are considered against American orientalism’s gendered slant. Thereafter, the discussion turns to theoretical concerns. First, Duke’s deliberately hybrid spaces, mixing Islamic art from various regions and also combining historical objects with replicas, is studied as the creation of an Islamicate dwelling place, which, contrary to the colonial bases of orientalism, recognized the contemporaneity of the Islamic world. Duke’s practices of replication and recollection suggest relocation as the conceptual mode in which mobile objects create a sense of the transitory that supplants static architecture. Finally, the concept of relocation enables an examination of Duke’s major innovation. She moves Islamic tentage indoors to express her understanding of transitional space in Islamic architecture relocated to its setting in Hawai‘i.
Keywords: American orientalism; Doris Duke; Islamic tents; Shangri La; interior design; women collectors