Art in America | Islamic Arts Showcased in Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum

“We don’t find institutions that are solely devoted to this subject matter … We will lead the way.”

Henry Kim, CEO and Director, Aga Khan Museum

 

The new campus is designed to serve as a gateway into the historic and artistic tradition of Islam “at a time when such a gateway is profoundly needed.”

Prince Amyn Aga Khan, one of the benefactors of the project

 

[T]he 115,000-square-foot Ismaili Center was focused in the reinterpretation of traditional Muslim architecture … “It’s an abstract expression of sacred geometry.

– Charles Correa, Architect of the Ismaili Center, Toronto

Art in Americaby Noam Dvir for Art in America. Published in News Nov. 07, 2014

Amid a new and especially grisly rise of radical fundamentalism in the Middle East, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) of the Ismaili community, one of the most progressive branches of the Shia Islam, has inaugurated a new Ismaili Center and a museum for Islamic art in Toronto–the first of its kind in North America.

The new campus is designed to serve as a gateway into the historic and artistic tradition of Islam “at a time when such a gateway is profoundly needed,” explained Prince Amyn Aga Khan, one of the benefactors of the project, during the inauguration of the campus this fall.

Architects Charles Correa, 84, and Pritzker Prize-winner Fumihiko Maki, 86, designed the center and the museum, respectively. Together they will serve over 100,000 Toronto-area Ismailis; the founders hope to attract over 250,000 visitors annually.

The patron of this $300-million project is the Aga Khan, Shah Karin Al Husseini, the 49th hereditary imam of over 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide. The 77-year-old business magnate is amongst the world’s 10 wealthiest royals, although neither he nor his family rule over any geographic territory.

The Swiss-born prince has also gotten involved with commissioning buildings; the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has established Ismaili centers in Europe, Africa and North America, inaugurated a $1-million triennial award recognizing excellence in architecture in Muslim countries and societies, contributed to the conservation of historic Islamic architecture and, more recently, completed a building in Ottawa which serves as the de facto embassy for the Aga Khan.

Henry Kim, the museum’s director admits that the collection is not as vast as that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (12,000 objects) or the Louvre (about 17,500). However, the Aga Khan and other private donors in the Ismaili community guarantee the expansion of the collection, as well as the museum’s overall budget.

Further exhibitions will emerge from formal collaboration agreements with the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, Qatar. “We don’t find institutions that are solely devoted to this subject matter,” says Kim. “We will lead the way.”

Via Art in America | Islamic Arts Showcased in Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum.



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Earlier and Related – Aga Khan Museum Inauguration – Selected Media & Press Coverage

The Prime Minister’s Office | 24 SEVEN Exclusive: PM marks opening of Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Park

The Wall Street Journal | The Aga Khan’s New Islamic Treasure Trove

Forbes | A Museum Gifted By Aga Khan

The Washington Post | Pulitzer Prize-winning Art and Architecture Critic writes about Aga Khan Museum & Ismaili Centre in Toronto

The Globe & Mail | Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum, opening this week, is a world-class showcase for Islamic art

Newsweek | Aga Khan Museum: Enlightened Islam Fights Back Against Jihadist Brutality

Al Jazeera | Aga Khan Museum: Inside N America’s first Islamic art museum

Al Arabiya – العربية | Video: Aga Khan: Canada’s first Islamic Art Museum

Fast Company | Ainsley O’Connell: A Look Inside Fumihiko Maki’s Gorgeous New Museum For Islamic Art

The Guardian | Aga Khan Museum: North America finally gets a home for Islamic art


Earlier and Related: All Media & Press Coverage on Aga Khan Museum


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