Ahead of the Aga Khan Museum opening, from 2007 to 2012, approximately 100 masterpiece artifacts from Aga Khan Museum’s prized collection toured several cities. The touring exhibition represented creative collaborations and partnership with world renowned European and Asian museums. At each of the host venues, representative country dignitaries graced the inauguration of the exhibition in the presence of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and Prince Amyn Aga Khan. Dignitaries included His Majesty the King of Spain in Madrid , HRH the Prince of Wales – Prince Charles in London, and various Heads of States, Ministers and Civic Leaders at other respective venues.
These touring exhibitions were also a springboard for the production of beautiful catalogues used to interpret the various themes of the collection and masterpieces, and remain a tangible and permanent record of the legacy of the European and Asian tours.
Ismailimail is thrilled to provide some details of these “Road to Toronto” events and also links to downloadable electronic catalogues (pdf) for its patrons. We are also happy to share an extended extract from HRH the Prince of Wales – Prince Charles, at the inauguration ‘Spirit & Life’ Exhibition in London.
It is, if I may say so, London’s great good fortune that His Highness has chosen to open his Golden Jubilee celebrations with the ‘Spirit and Life’ Exhibition which my wife and I have just seen – we had to drag ourselves away from it! I understand that this is the first time these masterpieces of Islamic art have been seen in London. They are of quite exceptional historical importance and beauty. But, perhaps still more importantly, they also convey the clearest possible message about the close ties between the Abrahamic Faiths. For example, the magnificent Eleventh Century Canon of Medicine, which originated in Iran, was equally indispensable to Western scholars for the better part of five hundred years.
[3:33] So much attention is paid to the outward differences between Faiths … How refreshing it is, then, to be reminded by this marvellous exhibition of the spirituality from which our Faiths draw their real strength, and of the heritage and traditions which we share.
It is, of course, His Highness’s own leadership and vision which has brought this collection together. It is,if I may say so, it is that same leadership and vision which has enabled the Aga Khan Development Network to grow into an organization of international importance, addressing development needs in some thirty-five countries around the World, bridging boundaries of race and religion.
Can I also just say a brief word about the Ismaili community in this country, and the contribution they make to modern British society. I can only applaud your emphasis on intellectual and cultural exploration as a means of integration, and your determination to discharge your obligations as citizens of this country without losing your own distinctive traditions. I suspect it is no coincidence that the younger members of your community have among the highest participation in tertiary education, helping to create strong role models for all young people in Britain. The reasons behind this are probably more a subject for a Doctoral thesis than a short speech. But I have no doubt that the existence of shared values is a key defining factor. These values celebrate humility, greatness of soul, honour, magnanimity and, indeed, hospitality. They form the bedrock of the excellent outreach work of the Ismaili Centre. These shared values are perhaps, the greatest of the treasures displayed here today…
Your Highness, in concluding, and on behalf of my Wife and myself, can I offer our most affectionate and heartfelt congratulations on your Golden Jubilee and our fervent hope, Insha’ Allah, many, many more years of outstanding service to your community lay ahead.
— HRH The Prince of Wales at the Opening of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s the ‘Spirit & Life’ Exhibition at the Ismaili Centre, London, UK July 12, 2007
Credits: AKDN.org for catalogues, HRH the Prince of Wales speech, and images.