At two years in and two years on the Aga Khan Museum has established itself as a museum beyond frontiers.
UNESCO extended its patronage to the Syria: A Living History exhibition and together with the unprecedented partnership between seven renowned international institutions from around the world, the Museum’s Syria programme provided a wealth of insight into the country’s unique and dynamic past and gives hope for the future.
Through the framing and timing of the exhibition, the Aga Khan Museum (AKM) compelled us to see Syria not simply as a site of regional conflict but as a global crucible of cultural exchange and potential reconciliation, hence celebrating Syria’s cultural diversity, historical continuity, resourcefulness, and resilience.
Watch this YouTube video as Henry Kim, Aga Khan Museum Director and CEO shares his views about the Museum and the Syria exhibit with Ismailimail when we caught up with him this past August.
“In a world in which some speak of a growing clash of civilisations, we believe the Museum will help address what is not so much a clash of civilisations, as it is a clash of ignorances.
The new Museum will have a strong educational vocation: it will be a place for active inquiry, for discussion and research, for lectures and seminars, and for an array of collaborative programs with educational institutions and with other museums.
A major part of the gallery space will be dedicated to visiting and temporary exhibitions – building on exhibitions of our collection that have taken place in London, Paris, Lisbon and Berlin – and are now planned for St Petersburg, Doha, Istanbul and Los Angeles.
My own family has been intimately involved in Islamic cultural history, notably during the Fatimid Caliphate which, a thousand years ago, founded one of the world’s first, great universities in Cairo.”
– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan,28 May, 2010
About the Exhibition – Syria: A Living History
The Aga Khan Museum has joined with renowned international museums and collections to launch Syria: A Living History (October 2016 through March 2017). This unprecedented partnership between seven institutions from around the world provides a wealth of insight into the country’s unique and dynamic past and gives hope for the future.
“We are honoured that UNESCO has extended its patronage to this exhibition and its related programs. The Museum and UNESCO share a common goal – to protect, preserve, and promote Syria’s remarkable cultural heritage. It is my hope that this initiative will provide the public with a glimpse into the amazing cultural diversity of its history,” says Henry Kim, Aga Khan Museum Director and CEO.
The exhibition has been made possible by a partnership between major public and private institutions, including the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin; the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin; the Louvre, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Atassi Foundation, Dubai; and the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection, Toronto.
About AKDN and Museums
When the AKDN becomes involved in museum projects, therefore, it conceives of these projects not as repositories of objects but as educational institutions that fosters dialogue and promotes tolerance and mutual understanding among people.
At their best, museums champion diversity, pluralism, the exchange of ideas and the enrichment of the intellect. Exhibitions provide tools for communication. Objects in an exhibition are like a code which can be deciphered through careful study. Through the reality of objects, we learn about other cultures. And through the language of objects, we find a common understanding. From understanding comes the revelation of a common humanity – one that dotes on its children, loves and fears the loss of love, struggles with the obstacles of youth and then of age, pursues knowledge and meaning and that, eventually, yearns for transcendence.
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali
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