Connections: Dubai hosts International Preview Exhibition of the Aga Khan Museum

“I wish that we were gathering today to open the Aga Khan Museum in the United Arab Emirates …

The [Aga Khan] [M]useum preserves important artefacts of our Islamic heritage. They communicate our history, culture, and art. Those artefacts convey a clear sense of Muslim diversity, a diversity that deserves global prominence … I strongly believe that culture and the arts are important catalysts for peace, understanding and harmony in the world.”

– His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, keynote address marking the launch of the international preview exhibition of the Aga Khan Museum to the Middle East through Art Dubai, Ismaili Centre Dubai, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Photo from file - 2008-03-26: His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan arrives with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan (left) and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum for the Opening Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre Dubai. (Gary Otte/TheIsmaili.org)
Photo from file – 2008-03-26: His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan arrives with His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan (left) and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum for the Opening Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre Dubai. (Gary Otte/TheIsmaili.org)

North America’s sole museum dedicated to Islamic arts and cultures — the Aga Khan Museum — held its first international preview at the Ismaili Centre Dubai on Tuesday.

Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, and Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, attended the event along with other VIP guests.

Dubai is shaping new and constructive encounters between cultures in the 21st century. Canada and its institutions are proud to be part of this story.

… It [Aga Khan Museum] will be a proud destination for Muslim and non-Muslim visitors, showcasing the art, science, music and philosophy of Islamic culture.”

 – Arif Lalani, Canadian Ambassador to the UAE and Canada’s Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, co-sponsorer of the preview exhibition to the Middle East through Art Dubai, Ismaili Centre Dubai, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shaikh Nahyan (3rd from R) at the preview of the Aga Khan Museum at the Ismaili Centre in Dubai. He is flanked by Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of The Emirates Group, Arif Lalani, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE, and other officials (Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times)
Shaikh Nahyan (3rd from R) at the preview of the Aga Khan Museum at the Ismaili Centre in Dubai. He is flanked by Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of The Emirates Group, Arif Lalani, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE, and other officials (Juidin Bernarrd/Khaleej Times)

The Dubai preview showcased five pieces from the museum’s collection that span 300 years, available for viewing by invitation only until Thursday afternoon. Located in Toronto, Canada, the Aga Khan Museum showcases a collection of more than 1,000 artefacts and artworks — in ceramic, metalwork, ivory, stone and wood, as well as textiles and carpets, among others — that span more than 1,000 years. The collection presents an overview of the artistry of Muslim societies from Spain to China.

Guests at Dubai Ismaili Centre during the 'Preview of the Aga Khan Museum' as part of Art Dubai. (Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News)
Guests at Dubai Ismaili Centre during the ‘Preview of the Aga Khan Museum’ as part of Art Dubai. (Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News)

Apart from exhibitions, the museum will also have a performing arts calendar and learning programmes for all ages. The international preview exhibit was held in the emirate on Tuesday as part of Art Dubai that began on the same day, said Amirudin Thanawalla, President of the Prince Aga Khan Shia Ismaili Council for the UAE, that hosted the event.

Read more at the sources

  1. International preview of Aga Khan Museum held in Dubai | GulfNews.com
  2. Dubai opens window to priceless Islamic legacy – Khaleej Times
  3. Art Dubai – Terrace Talks 2014

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