“It’s an extraordinary phenomenon that this enormous knowledge gap [of Islamic art and culture] exists, and I think it’s the duty of everybody, myself included, to try to fill in that knowledge gap,” the Aga Khan told Al Jazeera TV.
By Sonya Fatah for Al Jazeera
The museum’s mission is to highlight the “contribution that Islamic civilisations have made to world heritage”, and its staff readily discusses this need. “We in Canada, and in the US in particular, I think, learn what we learn through the news and come to all kinds of conclusions about different parts of the world, through what editors of newspapers decide what news should be,” Linda Milrod, the director of exhibitions, told Al Jazeera. “And we have an opportunity to widen that window considerably.”
Milrod, who spent 17 years with the Art Gallery of Ontario, and has been working on the Aga Khan Museum project for three and a half years, is very excited about the range and diversity that the museum will explore. “I’m learning about Islamic art and performing arts from different cultures every day, and I’m being introduced to what most of Toronto will be introduced to for the first time, and I’m feeling quite privileged.”
“I had sort of scoffed at the idea of a Persian garden in Toronto, but when I walked through it, it really is an amazing space … It’s a real bringing together of the worldly and the spiritual.”
– David Chalmers Alesworth, artist, educator, and sculptor, whose work was exhibited as part of the opening temporary exhibit titled “The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan
“What an exquisite gift to the city of Toronto, … As an artist and a Muslim immigrant to this country I feel like the museum is going to phenomenally help to bridge the gap between our roots and the stereotypes we suffer as Muslims in today’s world.”
– Farhee Chundrigar, a Pakistani-Canadian Artist
“The Aga Khan Museum is very interesting because it talks in a way to the city of Toronto – but it is also geared towards the Ismaili community … From the perceptive of a museum studies scholar, I think it is interesting to see how the museum addresses these two different communities.”
– Irina Mihalache, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
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