Thanks to the Aga Khan, Canadians and visitors from around the world particularly the United States will be privy to an extensive collection of Islamic Art.
A SHINY new Islamic art museum and cultural centre opened in Toronto on Sep 18, becoming the first of its kind in North America.
Bankrolled by Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, the facility features more than 1,000 artefacts – including rare scriptures of the Quran from the 7th and 8th centuries.
There are fine collections of Islamic art in museums throughout Canada and the United States, but this will be the first devoted entirely to such works.
The Can$300mil (RM876.15mil) Aga Khan Museum and adjacent Ismaili Center are sprawled over 6.8ha, hoping to cater to Muslims and others interested in Islam’s rich history.
The goal is to attract up to 250,000 visitors annually.
“We hope that this museum will contribute to a better understanding of the people of Islam in all their religious, ethnic linguistic and social diversity.”
– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
“Most of the artefacts come from the prince’s family’s trove, showcasing the achievements of Muslim civilisations from Spain to China.”
– Henry Kim, CEO and Director, Aga Khan Museum.
At a recent preview, a piece of carved marble from 10th century Spain was among the works that sparked particular interest.
The chiselled building that houses the museum measures a massive 10,500 sqm and boasts a 350-seat auditorium with carved wood panels.
Six artists from Pakistan who specialize in miniature art, music and performing arts were present at the opening.
Going forward, the museum plans to host travelling exhibitions, concerts, as well as international conferences and seminars.
“Canada is a model and global hub of diversity, ethnicity and inter-mingling cultures so Toronto became the natural choice for us to set up a modern cultural centre showcasing Muslim civilizations.”
– Luis Monreal, General Manager, Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The Aga Khan Museum is part of the Aga Khan Development Network, which has its footprint in several countries. – AFP Relaxnews
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