Islamabad - The Aga Khan Museum provides a space for Muslims and non-Muslims to explore the extent of diversity within the Muslim world both in terms of geography and centuries.   

This was shared by Henry S Kim, Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto on Sunday. He was speaking at a talk hosted by Serena Hotels. Kim also shared the diversity of the exhibits in the permanent collection and the wide range of temporary exhibitions and programmes that have taken place in less than two and a half years since the museum opened.

 The Aga Khan Museum, North America’s first museum dedicated to the art of Muslim civilisations is set within a landscaped park. It is home to historical and contemporary exhibitions, live arts and film programming, an exquisite permanent collection and a vibrant educational programme, collected by Aga Khan and his family over several generations. The museum collection showcases the breadth of Muslim civilisations from the 8th century till date.

Among its more than 1,000 artefacts are rare manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, glass, scientific instruments and intricate metal work.

Serena Hotels Chief Executive Officer Aziz Boolani quoted Aga Khan from when he laid the foundation of the Aga Khan Museum, “The Museum’s focus on the arts of Islam will make it a unique institution in North America, contributing to a better understanding of Islamic civilisations and especially of the plurality within Islam and of Islam’s relationship to other traditions. It will be a place for sharing a story, through art and artefacts, of highly diverse achievements — going back over 1,400 years.”

Board of Directors Vice-Chair Prince Amyn Aga Khan wrote, “The Aga Khan Museum, too, was built with the aspiration to celebrate and enlighten. Yet in becoming the first museum in North America to dedicate itself primarily to presenting the arts of Muslim civilisations, it has taken on a particularly ambitious role. In this very special place, not only are history and tradition in dialogue with the innovation and invention of artists today, but the museum aims to foster and illuminate dialogues between different cultures, different aesthetic approaches, different art forms themselves, and all of these from different areas of our globe.” Of the temporary exhibitions one of the first was The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, which featured the work of six internationally acclaimed Pakistani artists including Bani Abidi, Nur Jahan Akhlaq, David Chalmers Alesworth, Aisha Khalid, Atif Khan and Imran Qureshi.

 Using varying media and styles these artists explored the idea of an Islamic chaharbagh or garden.

Boolani added that the Aga Khan Museum was providing immensely talented Pakistani artists access to a global audience which had also been the vision behind the creation of the Satrang Gallery at Serena.

The young artists in the country need to be promoted and that requires institutions to be committed to that cause.