Gonnella was previously curator of the Museum of Islamic Art, an institution run by the Pergamon Musuem in Berlin, where she organized such shows as “Years of the Persian Book of Kings,” “Samarra – Centre of the World, 2012,” and “How Islamic Art Came to Berlin: The Collector and Museum Director Friedrich Sarre.”
An archeologist with a background in social anthropology and Islamic studies, Gonnella has done fieldwork in El Bahnasa, Egypt, and Raqqa, Syria. She has also coordinated a joint German-Syrian effort to excavate the medieval Citadel of Aleppo between 1996 and 2011, and has published a book about her findings.
“With its peerless collection, and its signature building, the Museum has pioneered understanding and appreciation of Islamic art globally,” Gonnella said in a statement. “I look forward to leading this unique institution into its second decade, building on its extraordinary achievements and opening up new stories of the treasures of Islamic art.”