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Aga Khan Museum - TO
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2014/09/12/pm_and_aga_khan_open_ismaili_centre_and_the_aga_khan_museum.html

Saturday, September 13, 2014

12:47 AM EDT

the star.com Visual Arts


PM and Aga Khan open Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum
“Pluralistic spirit” shared by Canadians and Aga Khan goes back to 1972, when Canada welcomed a significant Ismaili refugee populations from Uganda as they were expelled by the ruling despot Idi Amin.

By: Murray Whyte Visual arts, Published on Fri Sep 12 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped out of his limousine at the Ismaili Centre in Don Mills Friday afternoon and allowed himself a rare moment of unbuttoned candour.

“It’s a good day,” he said, smoothing his jacket as he greeted the Prince Karim Al Husseini Aga Khan IV, the spiritual leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims worldwide and a force for benevolent change across the globe, with a familiarity reserved for an old friend.

The occasion for their meeting, the ceremonial opening of the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum, two remarkable new buildings that occupy nearly seven hectares alongside the Don Valley Parkway here, was very official. But the two men have been recently getting to know each other better and better.

In February, the Aga Khan, who tends to his flock of Muslim followers from a home base north of Paris, was invited to address Canadian Parliament, the first-ever faith leader given the chance to do so.

On the same visit, Harper and the Aga Khan held an event at Massey Hall here, where the Prime Minister pledged ongoing support to the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the of the world’s largest development agencies aimed at bringing health services, education and cultural development to impoverished countries worldwide.

The opening of the Ismaili Centre and the museum, however, is the bricks-and-mortar embodiment of shared values.
The Aga Khan shakes hands with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the opening Friday of the Ismaili Centre Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim / THE CANADIAN PRESS



The Aga Khan shakes hands with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the opening Friday of the Ismaili Centre Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum.

Speaking to a crowd that included dignitaries, the architects of both buildings, and members of the local Ismaili community Friday, Harper praised the Aga Khan for his efforts in “demystifying Islam, throughout the world, by stressing its social traditions of peace, tolerance and of pluralism. This is a vision of Islam of which all Canadians can be proud,” he said, “especially when a contrary and violent distortion of that vision so regularly dominates the news.”

Harper drew a line from George Etienne Cartier, one of the fathers of Canadian Confederation, who strenuously supported pluralism as a core value of the nascent nation, and the priorities of the Ismaili community today. “The wisdom of acceptance and tolerance are lessons the Canadian Ismaili community teaches still,” he said. “In so doing, you have contributed to these fundamental values at the heart of our national identity.”

The Aga Khan followed Harper to the podium with characteristic humility. “Prime Minister Harper, words fail me — and that’s not often the case,” he said, to a ripple of laughter. “Canada has become a significant new homeland for our community,” he said.

The Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum, he said, will “be filled with the sounds of enrichment, dialogue and warm human rapport as Ismailis and non-Ismailis share their lives in a healthy, gregarious spirit.”

Pluralism is a core value of the Aga Khan Development Network, and Canada has been a long-standing ally. In 1972, Canada welcomed a significant Ismaili refugee population from Uganda as they were expelled by the ruling despot Idi Amin, and the connection has grown stronger ever since.

When former prime minister Pierre Trudeau died in 2000, the Aga Khan was among his pallbearers. At the inauguration in Toronto Friday, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader and prime minister’s son, was there to greet the Aga Khan as a family friend. And, in 2010, when the Wynford Dr. site was announced as the new home of the Aga Khan-funded complex, Harper granted his highness Canadian citizenship.

Concluding his remarks, the Aga Khan reflected on the close relationship that has evolved as a simple, natural thing.

“The complex we inaugurate today is animated by a truly pluralistic spirit,” he said. “In this respect, too, it reflects the deep-set Ismaili values and pluralistic commitments that are so deeply embedded in Canadian values.”
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/stephen-harper-on-hand-for-aga-khan-museum-opening-1.2764535

CBC Toronto

© The Canadian Press, 2014

Stephen Harper on hand for Aga Khan museum opening
$300 million museum is the first in North America devoted to Islamic art


The Canadian Press Posted: Sep 12, 2014 12:17 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 12, 2014 4:29 PM ET

The first museum in North America devoted to Islamic art will help promote an understanding of a religion that is based on tolerance and pluralism, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday at the new landmark's opening ceremony.

The Aga Khan — spiritual leader of the world's Ismaili community — joined Harper in Toronto to celebrate the opening of his namesake museum, the $300-million Aga Khan museum and Ismaili centre.

"We celebrate today, then, not only the harmonious meeting of green gardens and glass galleries, or of Italian marble and Canadian maple. We rejoice above all in the special spirit which fills this place and gives it its soul, " Harper said.

The Aga Khan Museum opens to the public on September 18th. It has been funded by the Aga Khan Development Network, a worldwide agency overseen by the Aga Khan.

1 of 9

"For a very, very long time this priceless gift will bring joy to the eyes and jubilation to the hearts of countless visitors."

On display will be more than 1,000 artifacts from the 8th through 19th centuries sourced from various countries.

Renowned architects from Japan and India designed the main buildings, while a Lebanese architect designed the landscaped park that links them on the 6.8-hectare site.

The project aims to foster knowledge and understanding within Muslim societies and between these societies and other cultures.

"The decision to establish this significant initiative in Canada reflects the deep and longstanding partnership between the Imamat and Canada," Harper said.

"This partnership stems from our shared commitment to pluralism, to civil society, human dignity, peace and understanding."

The museum opens to the public on Sept. 18.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/4858732-aga-khan-museum-now-officially-open/


Aga Khan Museum now officially open
Prime Minister Stephen Harper: ‘This is a vision of Islam in which all Canadians can be proud of’


Staff photo/DAN PEARCE

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Aga Khan, with the Aga Khan Museum in behind, at the official opening of the facility Friday, Sept. 12.

North York Mirror
By Clark Kim


Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the inauguration of the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum on Friday, Sept. 12, officially opening the $300 million museum complex.

“We celebrate today, that ambitious promise is now a splendid reality,” said Harper, standing alongside His Highness the Aga Khan again as he did four years ago during the foundational ceremony.

Harper expressed his gratitude to the Aga Khan for tirelessly promoting the ideals of Islam culture and civilization, social diversity, and helping demystify Islam to the rest of the world.

“This is a vision of Islam in which all Canadians can be proud of,” said Harper at the inaugural event with such notable dignitaries in attendance including former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

The Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre, which is located on 6.8 hectares of land at 77 Wynford Dr. near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue, will be opened to the public next week on Thursday, Sept. 18.

The museum’s permanent collection features more than 1,000 objects that include portraits, textiles, manuscripts, and musical instruments, which showcase Islamic art, culture and history.

The Aga Khan returned the compliments, acknowledging the Canadian government, donors, architects, designers and the local neighbourhood for their support.

“Here we are today, a story over 18 years has been one of deeply shared purpose,” said the Aga Khan, noting the planning of the complex began nearly two decades ago.

The Ismaili Centre in Toronto joins a network of other centres located around the world including London, Lisbon, Dubai, Dushanbe and Vancouver.

The Aga Khan added that he hoped the park space connecting the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum will be used by people of all ages and backgrounds for relaxation and contemplation.

“We are a community that welcomes the smile,” he said.

For more information about the Aga Khan Museum, visit www.agakhanmuseum.org
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AS RECEIVED

From: Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 6:53 PM
Subject: CBC Radio Interview on the importance of the Aga Khan and Aga Khan
Museum with Khalil
*From:* Khalil Andani

Ya Ali Madad Friends,

Many mubarakis to all of you on the occasion of Mawlana Hazar Imam's visit
to Toronto.

Last night I was interviewed on CBC Radio's *Here and How* and asked to
speak about the importance of Hazar Imam and the opening of the Aga Khan
Museum.

You can listen to the recording of the 5 minute interview here:
http://bit.ly/khalil_radio1

--
Khalil Andani, CA-CPA
Doctor of Philosophy Candidate - Islamic Studies
Harvard University
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/09/15/aga_khan_museum_a_needed_dose_of_civic_ambition_for_toronto_hume.html

Aga Khan Museum a needed dose of civic ambition for Toronto: Hume

The Aga Khan’s project, including the Ismaili Centre, is a rare Toronto building that aspires to both importance and permanence, writes Christopher Hume.


By: Christopher Hume Urban Issues, Published on Mon Sep 15 2014

Above all, the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum are an act of faith, not just in religion but in Toronto. Of all the cities where these facilities, especially the museum, could have been located, the Ismailis chose this one.

Not only did they construct their monuments in a forlorn site at Eglinton and Wynford Dr., they hired two of the finest architects in the world — Fumihiko Maki of Japan and Charles Correa from India — to design them.

Not only did the Ismailis see the possibility of beauty where no one here had noticed, they put their money — $300 million and a priceless collection — where their mouth is.

On top of that, they placed the complex within a fully formed landscape of exquisite reflecting pools and mature trees.

The Ismaili ideals of pluralism and inclusion are built into the very architecture and layout of the place.

It will take time for the city to come to grips with the magnitude of such a gift; Wynford Dr. isn’t exactly at the heart of things, but neither is it the middle of nowhere, though it looks like it.
The entrance to the Aga Khan Museum, as seen in Toronto on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Colin Perkel / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The entrance to the Aga Khan Museum, as seen in Toronto on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

“It’s a very formless part of the city,” Correa said at the Ismaili Centre, “like the bottom of the sea or something. I don’t know why Toronto abandoned the scale of neighbourhoods like Yorkville.”

On the other hand, the complex sits on a high point overlooking the Don Valley Parkway and is a landmark. Its dome-like structure, all glass, limestone and angularity, won’t be ignored. The Aga Khan, Correa explained, “was very keen that the buildings be seen.”

His Highness — HH in his absence — needn’t have worried. The architect rightly calls it a “come-on.”

But it’s also a come-in. Indeed, what makes this project so different, even revolutionary in this context, is the assumption that the quality of space matters. This means everything from light and dark to paving and planting. The attention to small details as well as big moves stands out in a sprawling suburban environment where most buildings are unadorned slabs in an ocean of parking lots.

The car is every bit as crucial to the centre — at least until the Eglinton Crosstown line opens — but it has been kept at a distance. Even so, the entrance from the underground garage to the museum includes a remarkable sound and slide show based on artifacts displayed in the rooms above.

In an area whose physical form is determined by exclusionary zoning and a belief that land is expendable and its uses only temporary, the arrival of something that aspires to permanence, let alone excellence, feels provocative. Suddenly, a vast swath of Toronto has been subtly revealed in all its banality.

But change has to start somewhere and perhaps this will be it. The new complex doesn’t confront so much as it quietly raises the stakes. It brings cultural, social and economic value to a place where there was little or none. And all this without resorting to preciousness.

For Toronto, which some would turn into a backwoods family fiefdom, it’s a reminder that turning ever more inward is not an option. The rest of the world wants in, we want out.

In addition to everything else, the Ismailis have brought leadership to the city. You don’t have to be a believer to see the results. They have put Wynford Drive on the map and made it a global centre of Islamic art, which we could not have managed on our own.

“I’m a little jealous it’s not in my city,” said visiting Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. He should be.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3035622/wanderlust/a-look-inside-fumihiko-makis-gorgeous-new-museum-for-islamic-art#6

September 15, 2014 | 8:00 AM

A Look Inside Fumihiko Maki's Gorgeous New Museum For Islamic Art

The Aga Khan, designed by Fumihiko Maki, is North America’s first museum dedicated to Islamic art.



New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art made headlines in 2011 when it reopened its Islamic art galleries after years of renovation. Amid ongoing American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 19,000 square-foot wing, complete with a Maghrebi-Andalusian-style courtyard built from scratch by Moroccan artisans, struck a chord with visitors curious to see another side of Islamic culture.

Now, a new museum set to open in Toronto next week, with more than double the Met's gallery space, is poised to establish North America's first dedicated home for Islamic art.

Pritzker Prize-winner Fumihiko Maki designed the 47,000 square-foot Aga Khan Museum, its smooth granite facade topped with crenels that evoke a battlement. Inside the fortress-like walls, patterned glass skylights and floor tiles echo Islam’s famous mosaics. Maki, whose past projects include 4 World Trade Center and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan, is known as “a modernist who has fused the best of both eastern and western cultures,” according to the Pritzker jury.

“Detailing is what gives architecture its rhythm and scale," Maki has been known to tell students and admirers.

The museum is the brainchild of billionaire Prince Shah Karim Al Huseeini, also known as His Highness the Aga Khan, who serves as the 49th hereditary Imam of Shia Islam’s second largest sect. Educated at Harvard and heir to a wide-ranging art collection, he began augmenting his family’s Islamic art holdings in the 1990s, with a focus on Indian miniature paintings, and decided to bring the resulting collection under one public-facing roof in 2003.
Ivory horn from southern Italy, 11th–12th centuries

Notable works in the Aga Khan collection include illuminated paintings from India and Iran, an 11th-century medical encyclopedia, and an ivory horn carved with mythical animals. The museum opens to the public on September 18.

[h/t the Wall Street Journal]
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/art-and-architecture/the-aga-khan-museum-is-a-world-class-showcase-for-islamic-art/article20614627/


Toronto's Aga Khan Museum, opening this week, is a world-class showcase for Islamic art

James Adams

The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Sep. 16 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Sep. 16 2014, 10:49 AM EDT

It’s said that a city – a city like Toronto, say – whose boosters often rely on the adjective “world-class” to describe both its overall grooviness and its particular charms can’t, in fact, be truly world-class. You’re either world-class or you’re not and no amount of huffing, puffing or tub-thumping is going to grant a burg that cachet. World-class, in short, is self-evident and unspoken.

Still, you can’t keep a person from thinking something’s world-class. Which is, in fact, what I was thinking one cool, overcast morning last week while touring the Aga Khan Museum with educational consultant Patricia Bentley. The museum, which opens Thursday (a ceremonial opening, featuring Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan, was held Sept. 12), has been a long time coming, Toronto having been named its home 12 years ago this October by the prince, spiritual head of the planet’s 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
The entrance to the Aga Khan museum in Toronto is seen on Sept. 9, part of a new $300-million complex located on a seven-hectare site near the Don Valley Parkway. (Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press)

Yet for all the waiting, the museum seems destined to become both major cultural destination and player in very short order. In fact, doesn’t its completion atop its seven-hectare site on the brow of the Don Valley Parkway seem almost … sudden? Perhaps this is because the 10,100-square-metre museum, with its elegant gardens, five reflecting pools and adjacent Ismaili Community Centre and mosque, seems to have unfolded in very slow motion, quietly, without hype, with the sort of discretion only a $300-million-plus budget can buy. Forty-odd years ago the British rock group Yes sang about how “mountains come out of the sky/And they stand there.” There’s something of that quality to the two graceful monoliths plunked serenely near the incessant riverrun of traffic up and down the Parkway.

The world, of course, has many museums and galleries with space devoted to Islamic art. Toronto’s own Royal Ontario Museum, for example, has a curator of Islamic decorative art and its Wirth Gallery of the Middle East contains Islamic artifacts. But the Aga Khan Museum is being touted as the only institution in North America dedicated solely to the panoply of Islamic art – painted illustrations, ceramics, weavings, calligraphy, scientific instruments, paintings, clothing, myriad editions of the Koran.

The permanent collection, which until now has been housed in Paris, London and Geneva, numbers more than 1,000 artifacts, of which about 250 will be shown at any one time in Toronto as part of a policy of “quite frequent rotation,” Bentley said. It’s not an especially old collection. Although the pieces span roughly the seventh to the late 19th centuries, most have been acquired only in the past 60 years. Unsurprisingly then, the collection is testament to connoisseurship and curatorial savvy.
There are varying suggestions as to where this Quran may have been produced. Although an Il-Khanid Persia or Mamluk Egypt origin cannot be discounted, this Quran has certain features that suggest a different place: Yemen, during the period of Rasulid rule (1229-1454 CE). (Aga Khan Museum)

Artifacts are displayed on two floors, in large, high-ceilinged, discreetly lit white rooms with teak floors. The main-floor space prefaced by a corridor illuminated by an arresting series of video animations, has its treasures arranged chronologically on an L-shaped footprint, and is decidedly Catholic in its presentation. There are three large vitrines displaying Korans of varying degrees of calligraphic magnificence; a 10th-century inkwell carved from rock crystal; a marble fountain, with geometric mosaics, from a palatial courtyard in 15th-century Egypt; a tunic of beige brocaded silk worn by a horseman in 14th-century Iran; the oldest-known extant version of The Canon of Medicine, compiled in Persia in the 11th century; a bronze astrolabe with silver insets from 14th-century Spain, its surface inscribed in Arabic, Hebrew and Latin.

Bentley noted that to many Westerners, Islam is a stern theocratic monolith when, in reality, it’s been a multiplicity of dynasties and civilizations encompassing more than 1,000 years, its reach extending far beyond the Arabian Peninsula to Spain, Africa, Indonesia, the Indian subcontinent and the gates of China. “Our biggest message here really is diversity,” Bentley said, “and how Islam has always responded to local traditions.” Moreover, it’s “not true there is a prohibition against figurative images in Islamic art,” she said. Yes, there is no figuration in the Koran nor images in mosques but, as the Aga Khan Museum shows, figural motifs – human, animal, fanstastical (including dragons and harpies) – were a staple of Islamic artistic expression.

One of the finest examples of this is found in the museum’s second-floor gallery. It’s an illuminated folio called The Court of Keyomars, attributed to the 16th-century Iranian artist Soltan Mohammad, painted on paper in opaque watercolour, gold, silver and ink for Shah Tahmasp I. Astonishingly detailed, exquisitely executed (some of its strokes were reportedly made by a single squirrel hair), luminously lyrical, the scene depicts a seemingly levitating mythical king and his turbaned courtiers blissed out in a paradise of riotously coloured vegetation, rocks and water. Said Bentley: “It’s considered by many scholars to be the greatest masterpiece of Persian and Moghul painting.” The folio is one of dozens of works in In Search of the Artist, a themed show, culled from the Aga Khan’s permanent collection, highlighting recognized Iranian and Indian painters and drawers from the 16th through 18th centuries, artists largely unknown to Western eyes yet as hefty in their fashion as a Bruegel or Bellini. Included is an early 17th-century Moghul Indian painting, Son’s Lamentation at His Father’s Funeral, one of the few artifacts by a female artist, Sahifa Banu.
The Court of Keyomars is attributed to the 16th-century Iranian artist Soltan Mohammad. (Aga Khan Museum)

Another temporary exhibition, The Garden of Ideas, features work – in printmaking, video, rug-making and miniature painting, among other idioms – of six contemporary Pakistani artists. Assembled by the Sri Lankan curator Sharmini Pereira, the show’s a clear signal that the Aga Khan is not going to be just historical in focus, that Islamic art has both a present and a future. It’s also a riposte of sorts to the commonly held conception of Pakistan as “the most dangerous place in the world” where the only growth industry is jihadism.

The most famous of the six Pakistanis is Imran Qureshi, the Lahore-based miniature painter and teacher. Not only does Qureshi, 42, have nine gouaches on handmade paper hanging in The Garden of Ideas, he got the okay to paint, in acrylic and latex, a large site-specific work on the museum grounds. Titled The Garden Within, its roiling, predominantly green landscape of vegetal forms on cement recalls the huge, red-splattered installation Qureshi did last year on the rooftop garden of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. To these eyes, though, the most eye-popping contemporary work is found inside the museum, just outside the entrance to the main-floor gallery. Part tapestry, part sculpture, Your Way Begins on the Other Side by Aisha Khalid, another 42-year-old Lahorean, hangs more than six metres; one side, with its rich patterns and images of lions, leopards, dragons and deer, riffs on the Safavid carpets of 16th-century Persia, the other is a “lawn” made up of more than a million densely packed, brightly coloured metal pins.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/16/aga-khan-museum-ismaili-centre-review-toronto

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

A billionaire playboy and two of the world’s most celebrated architects have created a cosmic space for a spectacular hoard of Islamic art – in deepest suburban Toronto.

Oliver Wainwright
The Guardian, Tuesday 16 September 2014 18.21 BST



There were lustrous ceramics, shimmering skeins of silk, finely carved ivory, illuminated texts and all the latest medical instruments. Lavishly paraded through the streets of 10th-century Cairo, the Fatimid caliphs used the public display of royal bounty to help cement their new capital as the most important cultural centre of the Islamic world. Masters of stagecraft and the symbolic power of art, they developed a culture of exhibiting private treasures in public long before museums began in the west. Now, 1,000 years later, one of their descendants is continuing the tradition – in a business park on the edge of Toronto.

With faceted white walls that gleam in the afternoon sun and strange crystalline domes poking up above the trees, the new $300m (£168m) Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre are startling additions to this stretch of suburban North America, at the roaring junction of two six-lane expressways. The museum is a monolithic shed, its canted walls giving it the look of a gigantic packing box that has been flipped open, with sharply chiselled skylights sliced into its crisp limestone skin. Across a vast pond-studded courtyard, the Ismaili Centre is a cluster of low-slung sandstone buildings, from which emerges a translucent pyramidal roof, ramping up at an angle as if pointing towards the stars. Together, they form an enigmatic complex that has the look of a cosmic observatory, or some mysterious lunar fortress. Like Hugh Casson’s Ismaili Centre in South Kensington, they are at once timeless and futuristic, somewhat unearthly and, like their Fatimid predecessors, have a heavily fortified air.

The project is a particularly unusual arrival to Toronto’s Don Valley, a green “edgeland” north-east of the city, for being the work of two of Asia’s greatest living architects. The 86-year-old Japanese Pritzker winner, Fumihiko Maki, was responsible for the museum, while the Ismaili Centre was designed by the 84-year-old titan of Indian modernism, Charles Correa. Their patron is equally esteemed: the Aga Khan, Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini (or “K” to his friends), is the 49th hereditary imam of the estimated 15 million Nizari Ismaili Muslims – a branch of Islam that reached its peak during the Fatimid empire – whose followers believe him to be a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad. Among the beer stores and office parks, something sacred has landed.
Ismaili Centre toronto Charles Correa A place for reflection: the Ismaili Centre in Toronto, designed by Charles Correa. Photograph: Ismaili Centre

Arriving at the site with Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, flanked by substantial security, the 77-year-old Aga Khan looks more businessman than spiritual leader. He has swapped his ancestors’ Cairene courts for a chateau in France and the regal retinue for a playboy lifestyle of thoroughbred race horses, luxury yachts, private jets and beautiful women. A Swiss-educated British business magnate, he has amassed an estimated fortune of roughly £8bn, making him one of the richest royals in the world – he’s also one of the most philanthropic. The business empire of his Fund for Economic Development, ranging from airlines and hotels to food and telecoms, generates revenues of £1.4bn annually, the profits of which are ploughed back into the Aga Khan Development Network, which employs 80,000 people working to improve health, education and economic development across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East. “We have no notion of the accumulation of wealth being evil,” he said in a rare recent interview, commenting on the 10% tithes that all Ismailis pay him. “It’s how you use it.”

Almost 20 years in the making, the Toronto site is the work of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture which, like a mini Unesco, runs an impressive programme of historic conservation of Islamic architecture around the world and a respected triennial architecture award. The 10,000-square-metre building is the new home for the Aga Khan’s spectacular hoard of Islamic art, more than 1,000 artefacts spanning three continents over 10 centuries, and is the first museum in North America dedicated to the subject.

The project was originally planned for London, on a prime site opposite the Houses of Parliament and beside St Thomas’ hospital, but the land went to the NHS after a vitriolic campaign that ended with accusations of blackmail and skulduggery – and the princely imam taking his treasures elsewhere. Correa’s Ismaili Centre, meanwhile, had long been planned for the Toronto site, and the sale of an adjacent plot of land in 2002 provided an expedient solution to house the museum. Although it was not necessarily the wisest location, being a good 20-minute drive from downtown Toronto’s main cultural attractions.

The project’s piecemeal evolution is evident: designed almost a decade apart, the two buildings sit uncomfortably in each other’s presence. Facing off across the courtyard – which is scaled to the 100-metre-width of the Great Mosque of Isfahan – Maki’s museum attempts to set up an axial arrangement, with a grand double-height portal that comes complete with a flip-down canopy, giving it the look of an entrance to a spaceship. It is met, however, by the blank frontage of Correa’s circular prayer hall. To get in, you have to navigate up some steps and around the corner.
Aga Khan Museum Chiselled … the Aga Khan Museum’s limestone lines. Photograph: Tom Alban

Such ground-level niggles will matter little in Canada, where most visitors are expected to arrive by car and will be funnelled up from the 800-space underground car park. From here, the museum’s majestic triple-height atrium tracks around a glazed cubic courtyard and leads to a series of galleries, masterminded by Adrien Gardère, the Louvre Lens exhibition designer, as an airy stroll through the prolific output of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids and Mamluks. “We wanted to avoid the common jewellery box approach of having precious objects spotlit in the gloom, and the overcrowded feeling you find in many galleries,” says Gardère. There is a great luxury of space, but it all feels a bit empty, like an echoing airport terminal – complete with a VIP lounge upstairs.

The collection doesn’t come close to the vast Islamic holdings of the British Museum or the V&A, nor the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, But as museum director, Henry Kim, fresh from leading the transformation of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, puts it: “It is a connoisseur’s collection. There may not be many pieces, but they are some of the best.”

They range from the earliest surviving manuscript of Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine, the text that kept ancient Greek thought alive while the west plunged into the dark ages, to a 14th-century Andalusian astrolabe, inscribed in Arabic, Latin and Hebrew, along with exquisite 16th-century paintings from the Persian Book of Kings. There are textiles and miniatures, tiles and musical instruments, and moralistic Iranian pottery from the 10th-century, including a plate with calligraphic script that reads: “Beware of the imbecile: do not socialise with him.” An adjoining restaurant provides the setting for such occasions, replete with fittings from a Damascus mosque, uncomfortably jammed into suspended ceilings in a way that feels more Starbucks than priceless museological collection.
Aga Khan Museum toronto terrace A sweeping terrace leads to the Aga Khan Museum

While Maki’s glacial museum speaks of institutional weight, Correa’s Ismaili Centre has a warmer municipal feel, its prayer hall and meeting rooms joined by what he calls “a fluid space that connects the religious, social, community functions, with no divide”, as well as a roof terrace that has, “a Mussolini balcony for His Highness to stand on”. It was intended to be built in rough-cast concrete, the material in which Correa works best, but wasn’t deemed sufficiently regal. The resulting beige stone, lined with Canadian maple and red carpets, feels a bit insipid.

So what are the sources for constructing an Ismaili architectural identity, for a diaspora with no nation to call their own? “There is no Ismaili architecture,” says Luis Monreal, art historian and director of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. “The history of Islamic architecture from the ninth century onwards has always been a process of copying and absorbing the local context, creating regional difference.” While the buildings here appear to riff on North American rural sheds (inflected with a cosmic touch), it will be interesting to see what emerges in central London. Although the Aga Khan’s UK ambitions might have been thwarted before, a cultural complex is being planned for King’s Cross, which will comprise a 9,000-square-metre Islamic cultural centre and a new home for the Aga Khan University – both designed by Maki – as well as a 200-bed student accommodation block. The details, says Monreal, are confidential. “But I can tell you it won’t be neo-Mamluk. Our architects are forbidden to go to the past.”
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/45574/torontos-aga-khan-museum-revealed.html


Toronto's Aga Khan Museum revealed

Toronto's newly open Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art celebrates the cultural achievements of the Muslim world


Claire Wrathall
By Claire Wrathall
September 17, 2014 14:28



Among the exquisite exhibits that fill the Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art, which opens in Toronto on 18 September, is a little Moghul portrait, just over a foot tall, entitled Shah Jahan, His Three Sons and Asaf Khan. It’s an enchanting image by any standard, the five figures, each seen in profile, stand, or in Shah Jahan’s case sit, on a carpet woven with flowers, against a ground of greenery and vivid blue sky patterned with clouds. They are lavishly bejewelled and diaphanously clad. Though it was painted in watercolour and ink, its colours remain bright, as does the gold with which it is embellished. What gives it a special emotional weight, however, is that Shah Jahan was, of course, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal, the peerless “teardrop on the face of eternity” as the great Bengali poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore called it, as a mausoleum in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The standing figure, Asaf Kahn, is her father. The sons are three of her 14 children.

Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631, three years after the painting was made, or rather after her relatives’ faces were painted. It turns out the picture was made rather earlier, for it is signed by the artist Manohar, who ceased to be active in 1624. As the caption explains “In their quest to legitimise their rule, Moghul emperors saw no harm in taking over pre-existing works of art, as if to place themselves in a more glorious historical past. In this case, new faces with physical features attributed to Shah Jahan […] replace those of Emperor Jahangir, the original patron, and his sons.”

It’s precisely this sort of detail that makes the exhibits here, all drawn from the Aga Khan and his family’s private collection so fascinating. Drawn, in its curators’ words, “from every region and every period, and created from every kind of material in the Muslim world,” the exhibits embrace paintings, textiles, costumes, manuscripts, ceramics, medical texts, books, tiles and musical instruments and stretch geographically from China (where porcelain and silk were manufactured both for local Muslim communities and for export to, for instance, Persia) to Spain (through a rare intricately decorated 14th-century brass astrolabe inscribed in Arabic, Hebrew and Latin and probably made in Toledo).

In contrast the building, designed by the octogenarian Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, is an unshowy though geometrically complex, essentially rectilinear structure of pale polished Brazilian granite with a glass-enclosed courtyard at its heart, its windows etched with a pattern of stars to evoke those found on moucharabieh screens.

The museum sits within a 17-acre park, part of which is modelled on a traditional Islamic char bagh, or paradise garden, a formal arrangement of four quadrants and five reflecting pools, along with the Charles Correa-designed Ismaili Centre, a community centre and prayer hall for Ismaili Muslims, for whom the Aga Khan is their spiritual leader.

Given the success of the Islamic Galleries that opened at the Metropolitan Museum at the end of 2011, which attracted more than a million visitors in little over a year, it’s extraordinary that there hasn’t until now been a museum dedicated to Islamic art anywhere in North America. But just as the peerless Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has played a significant role in positioning the Qatari capital as a tourist destination, so this museum provides a compelling reason to visit Toronto.

Opening hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to Sunday; 10am-8pm Thursday
Admission costs: CN$20 (about £11); concessions CN$15 (about £icon_cool.gif
Aga Khan Museum
77 Wynford Dr
Toronto
ON M3C
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/09/16/ismaili-muslims-toronto-milestone/

For Ismaili Muslims, a Toronto milestone
Ron Csillag | September 16, 2014 |

TORONTO (RNS) Two new Muslim attractions opening soon should help dispel negative stereotypes of Islam, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

The country’s first museum of Islamic art is scheduled to open Thursday (Sept. 1 icon_cool.gif in the heart of Canada’s largest city, Toronto. An adjacent Ismaili center is expected to follow. Harper and the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, attended a ceremony last week inaugurating the $300 million complex, which sits on 17 acres of lush gardens and parkland.

The Aga Khan Museum will house some 1,000 artifacts spanning a millennium of Islamic history. The adjacent Ismaili Centre, Toronto, will include a prayer space and rooms for social, educational and cultural events.

“The center creates an understanding of the values, ethics, culture and heritage of Ismaili Muslims,” a statement from Canada’s 90,000-strong Ismaili community said.

Ismailis are an offshoot of Shiite Islam. They are spread across 25 countries but united in their allegiance to Prince Karim Aga Khan.

In opening the museum, Harper praised the Aga Khan, who “has greatly contributed to demystifying Islam, throughout the world, by stressing its social traditions of peace, of tolerance and of pluralism.”

In his remarks, the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary imam (spiritual leader) of Ismaili Muslims, lauded Canada for having accepted thousands of Ismailis who fled persecution in Africa and Asia.

When the Aga Khan set out more than a decade ago to build a landmark museum to house his family’s collection of Islamic art, he wanted to locate it in London. When those plans fell through, he chose Toronto because of the city’s large Ismaili population and his strong ties to Canada.

The connection grew stronger, and in 2010, the Aga Khan was named an honorary Canadian citizen, one of just six people on whom the honor has been bestowed.

The Ismaili Centre, Toronto, which is winning kudos for its modernist architecture, is the sixth in a network of such facilities in Vancouver, Canada; London; Lisbon, Portugal; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.

YS/MG END CSILLAG
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Aga Khan’s $300m treasure palace unveiled

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/article4209475.ece

Tom Charity

Published at 12:01AM, September 18 2014

Opening today, the Toronto museum is on a mission to challenge North American misconceptions about Islam and Islamic art

“When you think of the history of art, how many artists from the Muslim world can you name?” challenges Henry Kim, director and CEO of the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, confident that the answer will most likely be none. He offers the same challenge for contemporary Muslim artists, allowing that art aficionados should be able to come up with a handful — which is nothing to be proud of. Indeed, given the destructive and prohibitive excesses of some reactionaries in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali and other places, it’s tempting to assume there is something antithetical about the concepts of Islam
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2014/09/17/aga_khan_museum_welcomes_music_of_the_world.html

Aga Khan Museum welcomes music of the world
Toronto musician David Buchbinder has assembled a wide range of musicians to inaugurate the music programming at Aga Khan centre, with a mission of fostering tolerance.

“We have so many musicians studying in different traditions," says David Buchbinder, artistic director of the Routes of Andalusia ensemble, performing Saturday at the Aga Khan Museum.
By: Trish Crawford Music, Published on Wed Sep 17 2014

Toronto’s new museum of Islamic culture opens its music program Saturday with a roster of performers representing many of the religions and cultures found in Toronto.

The inaugural concert at the Aga Khan Museum is led by a Jewish musician, though David Buchbinder sees nothing unusual about that.

“It’s noteworthy in that it is not important at all,” says the trumpeter and artistic director of the multidisciplinary concert. “It shows they are dedicated to diversity not as a catchphrase but in practice.”

The centre’s mission is to promote mutual understanding and tolerance.

Buchbinder, whose spouse, Roula Said, is of Canadian/Palestinian heritage and will be singing during the event, says Toronto has a wealth of performers knowledgeable about many cultures’ music and history.

“We have so many musicians studying in different traditions.”

Among the string and percussion instruments will be the oud (Arabic lute) and tres (Cuban guitar that evolved from the lute) as well as the modern violin and cello. Mor Karbasi, who was born in Jerusalem, sings Jewish Ladino, or Sephardic, songs while Said sings Arabic and Roma music.

The 10-member ensemble will be joined by flamenco dancer Esmeralda Enrique in the performance in the 380-seat auditorium.

The program, titled “Routes of Andalusia,” is inspired by the musical traditions that sprang from southern Spain as well as Morocco, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Greece, Cuba and the north coast of Colombia. New compositions by Buchbinder and Cuban-Canadian pianist Hilario Duran will be complemented by traditional world music.

Buchbinder says he came to the attention of the people involved with the Aga Khan Museum following a cross-cultural performance at Koerner Hall in 2012 in which he explored the influences of Andalusia. Since then his continued research into the confluence of cultures has resulted in the CD Odessa/Havana, which won a Juno Award earlier this year for best world music album.

This is the result of 25 years of exploration and study by the musician who is fascinated by Andalusia’s “incredibly diverse culture.” While Europe was in the Dark Ages, Andalusia’s arts, science, philosophy and fashion flourished, he says.

“Every single culture that has made significant cultural contributions had the advantage of diversity,” he says.

The spirit of inclusion was reflected in a private event at the museum last weekend in which Buchbinder and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma worked with young musicians in city youth programs. On Saturday the professionals heard the students play and then, on Sunday, Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble performed exclusively for the students after playing the night before at a gala.

“Music brings beauty into every day life,” says Buchbinder, of the reason for outreach programs. “It brings refinement of life”.

Tickets for Saturday’s 8 p.m. concert are $45, $65 and $75 or passes starting at $110 are available at agakhanmuseum.org for two-day attendance at the museum during which numerous musicians will be entertaining as part of a festival celebrating the centre’s opening to the public.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/aga-khan-museum-brings-artistic-riches-to-toronto.aspx?PageID=238&NID=71833&NewsCatID=385



Sub Categories: » HOMEPAGE / ARTS-CULTURE/ ARTS

Thursday,September 18 2014, Your time is 11:33:20 AM

Aga Khan Museum brings artistic riches to Toronto

TORONTO
Canada’s largest city is welcoming a new museum showcasing the splendor of Islamic art and culture. The Aga Khan Museum will feature everything from rare Quranic manuscripts to musical instruments


[Aga Khan Museum brings artistic riches to Toronto]

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, which is dedicated to presenting an overview of the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage, is opening its doors to the public today, becoming the first of its kind in North America.

Bankrolled by Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, the museum features rare scriptures of the Quran from the seventh and eighth centuries.

At a preview last week, a piece of carved marble from 10th-century Spain was among the works that sparked particular interest.

There are fine collections of Islamic art in museums throughout Canada and the United States, but this is the first devoted entirely to such works when it welcomes visitors.

HDN The museum’s permanent collection of over 1,000 objects includes masterpieces that reflect a broad range of artistic styles and materials. The portraits, textiles, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, tiles, medical texts, books and musical instruments represent more than 10 centuries of human history and a geographic area stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

Designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, the museum shares a nearly 60,000-square-meter site with Toronto’s Ismaili Center, which was designed by architect Charles Correa. The surrounding landscaped park, designed by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, provides an exciting new green space for the city of Toronto.

“One of the lessons we have learned in recent years is that the world of Islam and the Western world need to work together much more effectively at building mutual understanding , especially as these cultures interact and intermingle more actively,” said the Aga Khan. “We hope that this museum will contribute to a better understanding of the peoples of Islam in all of their religious, ethnic, linguistic and social diversity.”

From their earliest origins, Muslim civilizations have been characterized by a remarkable diversity of geographies, languages, and cultures. Toronto – and Canada more generally – is internationally recognized for embracing such diversity. The city therefore provides an ideal home for an institution that strives to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among the world’s cultures.

“The Aga Khan Museum has an international outlook,” said Henry Kim, director of the museum. “Home to a collection of astonishingly beautiful works of art, it will showcase the artistic creativity and achievements of Muslim civilizations from Spain to China. I think local and international visitors will be greatly surprised when they discover just how much the arts of Muslim civilizations are a part of our shared global cultural heritage.”

The museum also plans to host traveling 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 center showcasing Muslim civilizations,” said Luis Monreal, head of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Since 2007, over 1 million people have experienced the splendor of the Aga Khan Museum Collection.
Many museums around the world, including the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul, the Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore have all hosted temporary exhibitions of major works of art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection.

The Aga Khan Museum has been established and developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture focuses on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalization of communities in the developing world, but some of its programs, including the museum, span both the developed and developing worlds.

September/18/2014
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/a-and-e/arts/op-ed-aga-khan-museum-opens-in-toronto/article/403722#ixzz3DgM2yTZR

18 Sept 2014

Op-Ed: Aga Khan Museum opens in Toronto Special

By Elka Weinstei yesterday in Arts

Toronto - After 18 years, the dream of an Islamic centre for art and community has become a reality — not, as originally intended, in London, England, but in Toronto.

This week I attended one of the many opening ceremonies of the Aga Khan museum. It's a triumph indeed. Much has been written recently about the building’s architecture, and about the Aga Khan’s hopes for the museum, gardens, and attached Ismaili Centre, as a centre for cultural diplomacy. An adapted précis of the Aga Khan’s speech was published in the Globe and Mail, and most reviews have been glowing.
Yesterday’s opening was for museum workers and academics. The museum’s staff looked a tiny bit stressed and worn after all of the activity from the week before, but they were still bravely chatting up the guests and certainly made everyone feel welcomed.

The building itself, and its surrounding gardens, are magnificent and look exactly as they did in the artists renderings that were published before they were built. Fumihiko Maki of Japan and Charles Correa from India designed the building, together with Toronto’s Moriyama & Teshima Architects. The surrounding 10 acres of public gardens were created by Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic as a contemporary take on Persian Islamic gardens. The 17-acre site also includes the Ismaili Centre, which is a community and cultural centre for the Islamic community of Toronto.

From the outside, the museum looks a little bit like a sultan’s hat, or perhaps a crown, combined with a modern mosque. Inside, the museum building feels both cool and warm, perhaps an effect of the white stone walls and gray slate floors — the central courtyard, decorated with a lacy mashrabiya pattern of an eight-pointed star, lets light into the main space, and creates a feeling of elegance.

As connoisseurs of museum buildings, and their more functional aspects, the guests remarked upon the lovely bathrooms, the spacious auditorium, and the quietly efficient elevators. We were not admitted to the curatorial wing, but if the emphasis on elegant functionality continues into that space, the staff who work here are very fortunate.
During his short speech, Director Henry Kim mentioned that the auditorium and the other spaces in the museum lent themselves to many functions other than simply as museum spaces. Certainly, the multi-use areas are useful, but part of the raison d’etre of a museum is contemplation, and that should not be dismissed.

Perhaps the Bellerive room, which features the ceramics collection of the late Aga Khan and Princess Catherine, is intended to be one such contemplative space. Although it is probably intended as a before-performance lounge for the auditorium, the room is an homage to the “Persian Salon” in the Prince and Princess’ former residence in Geneva. Decorated with Persian rugs, textiles, and beautiful ceramics in rather old-fashioned cases, it is indeed a space for reflection. One of my companions remarked that there is no information about the provenance or history of the contents of the cases, and perhaps that is deliberate.
During the morning of our visit, tours of the art and artifacts with the Education staff were conducted through the permanent gallery while other staff circulated among the guests. Although there are only 1,000 artifacts in the museum’s collection (all from the Aga Khan’s personal collection) each one is a gem, an exquisite example of that particular type of artifact. Some are also very rare, such as a 10th century medical manuscript by Ibn Sinna (Avicenna, a Persian polymath and medical doctor). Other artifacts are enlivened by their unconventional mounts, such as a brocaded silk riding tunic on display in a case by itself.
The two upper galleries are intended for temporary exhibits. Currently, an exhibit in the first gallery, In Search of the Artist: Signed Drawings and Paintings from the Aga Khan Museum Collection, displays Mughal court paintings from the 15th to the 17th centuries (watercolour works on paper) — tracing the genealogy of the master painters from the courts of the Mughal emperors of Persia and India. Many painters traveled between courts or moved from court to court over a lifetime, and masters trained apprentices in court ateliers. Associate Curator Dr. Filiz Çakır Phillip introduced us to the exhibit and then left us to enjoy the sumptuous paintings. How wonderful it must be to work with such treasures, and to be able to trace the links between families of painters over time.

The second exhibit is an exhibit of contemporary art from Pakistan, entitled The Garden of Ideas. According to the website, the exhibit is "the work of six internationally acclaimed Pakistani artists whose creations play with, question, and interrogate the timeless theme of the garden. Several pieces have been made in direct response to works in the Aga Khan Museum’s collection and to the Museum’s own reinterpretation of an Islamic garden (the chahar bagh) as designed by Vladimir Djurovic." The works are indeed playful, and clearly lovingly curated, although the gallery leaves too much space between the works at the beginning, and not enough space between the works on the wall. But this is a minor quibble. David Chalmers Alesworth’s rugs, in particular, evoke colonial town planning — from all points of the former British Empire.

The Aga Khan Museum, like the Bata Shoe Museum and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, began as the personal collection of a very rich person with wonderful taste. From its very beginning, however, this museum seems to embrace sharing its riches with the Toronto community as a whole. Transforming an urban wasteland in Don Mills, the new gardens and building feel warm, hospitable and openhearted. We look forward to visiting again very soon.

The Aga Khan Museum opens to the public on Thursday at 10 a.m., 77 Wynford Dr., Toronto. Closed Mondays. For tickets and admission protocols see agakhanmuseum.org.

This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/ismaili-centre-place-of-prayer-cradle-of-friendship/article20624820/

THE AGA KHAN

Ismaili Centre: place of prayer, cradle of friendship

The Aga Khan

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Sep. 17 2014, 3:00 AM EDT

Last updated Wednesday, Sep. 17 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

The following is adapted from a speech by His Highness the Aga Khan at the Sept. 12 opening of the Ismaili Centre in Toronto.

It is not so often that we have an opportunity of this sort – to come together in a beautiful setting, in a wonderful spirit of friendship, and to dedicate such a splendid architectural accomplishment.

The first North American museum dedicated to Islamic art opens in Toronto this Friday, bankrolled in part by the Aga Khan, the Ismaili Muslim spiritual leader. An art historian says the building houses a number of masterpieces.

As we inaugurate this building, we also have the opportunity to contemplate what it represents: the inspiring traditions of the past, the stirring challenges of the future and the continuing search for peace through prayer.

Canada, of course, has become a significant newer homeland for our community, as Ismailis have come here from so many places – from East Africa, from Tajikistan, from Afghanistan, from Syria and from other parts of the world – all choosing to develop their destinies under the Canadian flag.

One of the ways in which Ismailis have expressed their identity wherever they have lived is through their places of prayer, known today as the jamatkhana. Other Muslim communities give their religious buildings different names: from ribat and zawiyya to khanaqa. In addition, there are places where Muslims of all interpretations can come together, such as non-denominational mosques.

What we dedicate today is what we identify as an Ismaili Centre – a building that is focused around our jamatkhana, but also includes many secular spaces. These are places where Ismailis and non-Ismailis, Muslims and non-Muslims, will gather for shared activities – seminars and lectures, recitals and receptions, exhibitions and social events. These meeting halls and lounges, work offices and conference rooms will serve the organizational needs of the Ismaili community. But they will also, we trust, be filled with the sounds of enrichment, dialogue and warm human rapport.

Soaring above it all is the great crystalline dome that you have observed, through which light from the prayer hall will provide a glowing beacon, symbolizing the spirit of enlightenment that will always be at the heart of the centre’s life.

In its origins, in its design, and in its programs and activities, the complex we inaugurate today is animated by a truly pluralistic spirit. In this respect too, it reflects the deep-set Ismaili values – pluralistic commitments that are so deeply embedded in Canadian values.

The first step in the planning of the centre in the late 1990s was to find an appropriate building site, one that would be convenient to a large number of Ismailis. This was a challenge in and of itself, as we tried to reconcile the needs of more established Ismailis with the requirements of newly arriving and less settled immigrants. After a long search, we selected a site that was little more than half of the space we have today – it was located where the new museum is now standing. Happily, we were successful in acquiring that land, and it was evident that the hands of friendship helped to make that acquisition possible.

As the project progressed, we learned that the Bata family was intending to give up its office building on a site adjacent to ours – an elegant building, but one where time had taken its toll. Once again, the hand of friendship was extended, and Mrs. Sonja Bata made it possible for us to acquire that building. Because it stood on the highest point in the area, we decided to move the Ismaili Centre to this site, and to redesign it accordingly.

The next step, of course, was to seek approval to remove the Bata building. As it became apparent that this building had little residual life, the spirit of friendship again was present and we were authorized to replace it.

As these events unfolded, my late uncle, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, passed away, and his widow, Princess Catherine, invited me to become the owner of their remarkable Islamic art collection. Here again, the hand of generous friendship was extended, this time by my own family. Regrettably, Princess Catherine cannot be with us today. But I might note that the decisive role at critical junctures in this process was played by two remarkable women.

And so it was that things came together. I was able to join my late uncle’s collection with part of the collection I had assembled for the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and with some of my personal objects. But where should this collection be situated? After discussions with many thoughtful people, the decision was made to build a museum on the very site that had been selected originally for the Ismaili Centre.

I hope you will join in my profound happiness in recalling the cradle of friendship in which this centre has been born. And I know that all of you will also share my profound wish that the centre will now prolong, decade after decade, its beautiful legacy of friendship and enlightenment.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2014/09/140919-Makis-Aga-Khan-Museum-Makes-Its-Debut.asp


News:
Maki's Aga Khan Museum Makes Its Debut
By Lisa Rochon
September 19, 2014

Fumihiko Maki’s Aga Khan Museum is a simple rectangular volume. It shares a 17-acre site in Toronto with the newly opened Ismaili Centre designed by Charles Correa (not shown).

Toronto’s cultural brand has moved into a new galaxy. After four years of construction, the Aga Khan Museum, designed by Pritzker Prize–winner Fumihiko Maki, opened east of the city’s downtown on Thursday.
Slide ShowAga Khan Museum Maki Toronto
Photo courtesy The Aga Khan Museum
The geometric mashrabiya pattern printed on the glass walls of the interior courtyard cast intricate shadows inside the museum.
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With the new, sublimely detailed 124,000-square-foot building, Tokyo-based Maki and Associates (with Toronto’s Moriyama & Teshima Architects) expand the city’s repertoire of museums and university buildings designed by local and international architects, including Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Will Alsop, and Daniel Libeskind. The museum—a restrained canted box clad in a super-white Brazilian granite, with an interior courtyard open to the sky and flooded with daylight—is part of a graceful 17-acre compound. It is bookended to the west by the stunning, newly opened Ismaili Centre by legendary Mumbai architect Charles Correa. Standing below the faceted glass dome in his center’s prayer hall, Correa, 84, presented a series of spontaneous meditations on architecture at a press event earlier in the month, celebrating the opening of the museum and the center: “There is God’s sky above and God’s earth below, and when you acknowledge both of them, that moves you.”

The press event recognized architectural luminaries and served as an acknowledgment that most North Americans know very little about Muslim contributions to the arts. “Here is a simple but devastating question,” challenged Aga Khan Museum director Henry Kim: “How many Muslim artists from the past can you name?”

To help fill in the knowledge gap, Maki’s museum doubles as a cultural center, offering live dance and music performances within the glass-walled interior courtyard and in an intimate teak-lined theater. The packed outreach schedule includes curator talks, poetry readings, and foodie events that promise to shift or, at least, rebalance the public perception of war-torn areas such as Afghanistan and Iran. Educating the public about the depth and humanity of Islamic art was always the fundamental idea behind the museum complex, as conceived more than a decade ago by the Aga Khan, the wealthy philanthropist, urban thinker, and spiritual leader of the Ismaili people around the world. To that end, the Aga Khan gifted his extraordinary art collection. Assembled over many generations by his family, this includes more than 1,000 objects spanning 10 centuries.

Hexagonal skylights cast delicately patterned shadows into the permanent gallery on the museum’s ground floor and temporary galleries on the second, where visitors are given plenty of room to inspect treasures such as the 11th-century Canon of Medicine, several pages of the 16th-century Shahnameh—considered to be one of the greatest painted manuscripts of all time—and a perfectly preserved 13th-century silk robe once worn by a Mongol nobleman. Ceramics, metalwork, and books are placed within seamless, high-security glass casework, designed by Studio Adrien Gardère of Paris. There are architectural replicas and cultural lodestones, including a reconstruction of a Mumluk fountain, which once refreshed the historic palaces of Cairo. The Bellerive Room, another reconstruction, offers a fascinating peek at the interior of the Geneva residence owned by the Aga Khan’s aunt and late uncle, the Princess Catherine and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The family’s ceramic collection is also on display.

The museum complex exemplifies the big thinking and attention to detail that has long defined the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. Using a discreet motif, Maki’s team elaborated on several geometric mashrabiya patterns cut into some of the teak walls in the auditorium. This pattern, inspired by the Islamic Jali screen, is also printed on the courtyard’s 43-foot-tall walls of double-pane-insulated glass, casting beautiful shadows on the interior walls, ceiling, and heated stone floor.

The master plan was inspired by the vast urban dimensions of the plaza in Istanbul that links the Blue Mosque to the Hagia Sofia, said Gary Kamemoto, a director at Maki and Associates, during the museum’s opening. To powerful effect, the civic plaza features five minimalist black reflecting pools offset by lush plantings of mature trees. Designed by the Beirut landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, the plaza provides a serene urban refuge and an effective acoustical buffer from the noisy Don Valley Parkway running along the edge of the sloped site.

Toronto is North America’s fourth-largest city, widely recognized as a place that sits comfortably with cultural diversity. The majority of its population was born outside of Canada, and some 150 languages are spoken within the metropolis. With that in mind, and reportedly as a thank you to Canada for welcoming Ismailis when they faced persecution in Uganda during the 1970s, the wealthy Aga Khan—renowned for founding universities and hospitals in the Muslim world as well as for his patronage of Islamic studies at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—gave the $300-million museum and civic complex to Toronto. It is the first art museum that the Aga Khan Trust for Culture has built to date.

Lisa Rochon is a Toronto-based architecture critic and a Senior Fellow at the Global Cities Institute, University of Toronto.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

24 SEVEN Exclusive: PM marks opening of Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Park

Prime Minister of Canada


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7PuB0NjjJQ
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/art/the-new-aga-khan-museum-in-toronto-is-an-oasis-of-calm-and-reflection

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, will house more than 1,000 items. Gary Otte / Aga Khan Museum
The new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is an oasis of calm and reflection

David D’Arcy

September 20, 2014 Updated: September 20, 2014 04:21 PM

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/art/the-new-aga-khan-museum-in-toronto-is-an-oasis-of-calm-and-reflection#ixzz3DrdUQEf1
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Between wooded ravines north-east of downtown Toronto in Canada, a cone jutting upwards from beige limestone shares a seven-hectare site with a massive rectangle in elegant white granite that resembles an open box. Both structures form a bridge between the tradition and culture of the Islamic world and the present and future of Canada.

The Aga Khan Museum, the 4,370-square-metre chiselled white form, opened to the public on Thursday. Clad in Brazilian granite, it houses the collection of the Aga Khan, the imam of the Ismaili community, in a structure designed by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. Across an ensemble of pools and trees stands the Ismaili Centre, a mosque and other community offices designed by Charles Correa, the dean of Indian architects, who collaborated with Le Corbusier decades ago on the modernist buildings of Chandigarh in India.

In the soft September light, the structures are luminous. In the evening, the buildings are reflected in wide pools, part of gardens designed by the Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.

Booming, sprawling Toronto, where tower blocks under construction jostle for space, lacked a contemplative cultural site. Now it has one in the new garden campus.

It also lacked much in the way of art from Islamic lands. Now it has 1,000 works – from Mughal paintings to ceramics, from rugs to Persian manuscripts, some of which travelled to Dubai for an exhibition in March. An ambitious acquisition effort promises even more to come.

The architectural ensemble, a US$300 million (Dh1.1 billion) project realised without any state funding, is a gift from Canada’s Ismaili community, which numbers about 100,000, more than half of whom live in the Toronto area.

Ismaili ties to Canada were strengthened in 1972, when the North American country absorbed many families expelled from Uganda by the then-president Idi Amin. The Aga Khan has called Canada a global model for diversity.

Inside the quiet wood-lined Ismaili Centre, Correa says that the building’s design should reflect that experience. “These are Muslims who came from Uganda,” he notes. “They bring with them certain luggage, but their children are Canadian. Whatever you do, you have to speak of that luggage, but in the voice of Canada. That is what architecture is about. Those are the aspirations that it has to give shape to.”

When asked “Why Toronto?”, the museum’s director, Henry Kim, a numismatist hired away from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, has a simple response: “Why not?”

Warm feelings make for welcoming museums, or that’s the hope for the site where construction began in 2010 alongside a major motorway that hums nearby. Spacious galleries – the open-box motif is no coincidence – will introduce Canadians to art and traditions that few know of first-hand, such as 16th-century Persian drawings that have all the precision of their Italian renaissance counterparts.

“This site and these institutions will highlight elements of Islam that are largely left out of today’s narrative – pluralism, art, music, architecture, gardens, the exploration of the human self and an innate desire to connect with others, to learn as well as to grow,” says Luis Monreal, the general manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. “Turn on the news and, wherever you are in the world, it’s not good news about the way Muslims are represented. They’re misunderstood and they’re stereotyped. Our purpose is to educate and inform, and to address this clash of ignorance.”

Contemporary art is also part of the museum’s mission. Some works have been commissioned and some were being created as the buildings received their finishing touches. Not all those works will be by Muslims, Kim stresses, standing between the buildings by Maki and Correa.

Hanging from the ceiling in the museum’s wide atrium, where light filtered through mashrabiya patterns on the glass walls, is a carpet decorated with 1.2 million gold and silver pins, all of which were placed by hand. Your Way Begins on the Other Side is the work of Aisha Khalid from Lahore in Pakistan.

“The background is a garden, which symbolises heaven,” she says. “It was very meditative, the process of making it.”

Outside, beside the reflecting pools, Imran Qureshi – Khalid’s husband – is throwing green and yellow paint into floral patterns on dark-granite stones. He looks up from splashing down his patterns of flowers. “I’m painting a garden in a garden,” he says. “It’s so peaceful here and yet these gestures, these splashes, are so violent. It reminds you that there’s no peace.”

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
2014PREM0085-001343
September 12, 2014

Office of the Premier

Premier’s statement on Aga Khan museum opening

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark has made the following statement on the opening of the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Conference centre in Toronto, Ontario:

“I want to congratulate Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Aga Khan on the opening of the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Conference Centre in Toronto. This new centre was built with the hard work of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of international organizations and social enterprises overseen by His Highness.

“B.C. has a strong Ismaili community, with the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby being the first such centre to be built in Canada. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate with B.C.’s Ismaili community and to show our support for the role these centres play in promoting friendship and diversity and enhancing relationships among faith communities, governments and civil society.

“I invite His Highness to visit British Columbia on his next trip to Canada to see the many contributions of B.C.’s Ismaili community and to help strengthen relationships between the AKDN, B.C. Ismailis and B.C. organizations that promote diversity, knowledge and inclusiveness.

“On behalf of all British Columbians, I want to join the Ismaili community in offering my congratulations on the opening of the new Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Conference Centre in Ontario and I look forward to a future visit from His Highness to British Columbia.”

Media Contact:

Sam Oliphant
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:33 pm    Post subject: Aga Khan: Pillar of Wisdom Reply with quote

http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2014/09/15/03004-20140915ARTFIG00304-l-aga-khan-pilier-de-la-sagesse.php


L'Aga khan, pilier de la sagesse


Par Claire Bommelaer
Publié le 15/09/2014 à 18:47

LA CHRONIQUE DE CLAIRE BOMMELAER - Inauguration du Musée des arts de l'islam et d'un centre spirituel ismaélien

Il y a les fous, qui mettent en scène d'écœurantes décapitations. Et il y a aussi un islam séculaire qui a su produire un art de vivre raffiné, des céramiques subtiles, des tapis persans, des couleurs à nulles autres pareilles. À Toronto, dans le tout nouveau Musée de l'Aga Khan, c'est bien ce dernier versant qui se déploie. Le jour de l'inauguration, personne, et surtout pas le premier ministre canadien, ne se trompa d'ailleurs de combat. Stephen Harper parla d'une «vision de paix et de tolérance, loin des images vues aux nouvelles», vision dont il se réclama lui-même - en «franglais», comme il se doit au Canada.

Chef spirituel des ismaéliens - des musulmans chiites -, l'Aga Khan est un personnage quasi mythique. À la tête d'une petite communauté de 15 millions d'adeptes, il est aussi et avant tout citoyen du monde. Élevé dans le beau, il a reçu en héritage la collection de son oncle et de sa tante, le prince Sadruddin et la princesse Catherine. Mille pièces, dont un trésor persan du XVIe siècle, le Livre des rois (Shah Nameh). Toutes ou presque étaient autrefois accrochées dans la maison familiale de Bellerive, en Suisse. L'Aga Khan a cherché un endroit pour installer la collection, étoffée au fil des ans par lui-même et par son frère, le prince Amyn. C'est Toronto, sa forte communauté ismaélienne et son très officiel ministère pour le Multiculturalisme, qui a raflé la mise. Du même coup, le philanthrope a ouvert un centre spirituel au pied du musée. Ou peut-être est-ce l'inverse?

Vendredi, mille invités des quatre coins de la planète s'y sont rassemblés. Officiels canadiens, ismaéliens d'Inde ou d'ailleurs côtoyaient des connaisseurs, dont Henri Loyrette, ancien président du Louvre. À la lecture de sourates du Coran, quelques étoles jusque-là posées sur les épaules des femmes ont migré sur les têtes. Élégante discrétion religieuse qui tranche magnifiquement avec d'autres!

Lui-même vêtu d'un sobre costume, celui que l'on appelle Son Altesse a ensuite pris la parole - qu'il a, en principe, rare. Après avoir décrit les quatorze ans qui précédèrent l'ouverture du musée, il lâcha qu'il représentait «une communauté qui prônait le sourire».

Il laissa ensuite à son frère, connu pour sa verve et son humour, le soin de parler de la collection, issue d'Iran, du Proche-Orient, d'Espagne, d'Inde, du Pakistan, d'Afghanistan. Le prince Amyn, lui-même collectionneur, propriétaire d'un hôtel particulier à Paris, se mit à espérer que l'art jouerait un rôle, «en créant des connexions» entre les musulmans, et en amenant ceux qui méconnaissent une culture «riche et plurielle» à faire fi de leurs idées reçues. Inch Allah!


Last edited by Admin on Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:36 pm, edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2014/09/12/stephen-harper-visite-un-musee-sur-lart-islamique

Journal de Montreal

dimanche 21 septembre 2014, 02h33



Musée de l’Aga Khan
Stephen Harper visite un musée sur l’art islamique

Jessica Hume / Agence QMI

Publié le: vendredi 12 septembre 2014, 20H35 | Mise à jour: vendredi 12 septembre 2014, 20H43
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Highness the Aga Khan shake hands at the official opening of the Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

Photo Fred Thornhill / Reuters

Stephen harper en compagnie de l'Aga Khan.
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TORONTO – En compagnie de l'Aga Khan, le premier ministre Stephen Harper a assisté vendredi à l’inauguration du tout nouveau Centre ismaélien ainsi que du Musée de l’Aga Khan à Don Mills, dans la région de Toronto, en Ontario.

S'adressant à une salle pleine, M. Harper a fait l'éloge de la communauté ismaélienne et de son rôle pour «démystifier l'Islam», qui dit-il a souvent été «violemment déformée» dans les nouvelles. Il a également fait part des valeurs partagées entre les Canadiens et la communauté ismaélienne.

L'Aga Khan est le chef spirituel d’une communauté de musulmans chiites ismaéliens estimée à 15 millions de membres dans le monde.

Le Musée de l’Aga Khan est le premier musée en Amérique du Nord consacré exclusivement aux arts et aux artefacts du monde islamique.

«J’encourage les Canadiens d’un bout à l’autre du pays, ainsi que les visiteurs qui viennent de l’étranger, de visiter ces merveilles architecturales, a ajouté M. Harper. Je suis convaincu que le centre et le musée aideront à promouvoir la spiritualité et à renforcer la compréhension et la tolérance culturelles et religieuses au Canada.»

Le musée ouvrira ses portes au public le 18 septembre.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/22/toronto-ismaili-center_n_5836482.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

September 22, 2014

Toronto Welcomes Ismaili Center, Museum To Dispel Stereotypes About Islam

Religion News Service | By Ron Csillag
Posted: 09/22/2014 9:59 am EDT Updated: 09/22/2014 9:59 am EDT


TORONTO (RNS) Two new Muslim attractions opening soon should help dispel negative stereotypes of Islam, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

The country’s first museum of Islamic art is scheduled to open Thursday (Sept. 1icon_cool.gif in the heart of Canada’s largest city, Toronto. An adjacent Ismaili center is expected to follow. Harper and the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims, attended a ceremony last week inaugurating the $300 million complex, which sits on 17 acres of lush gardens and parkland.

The Aga Khan Museum will house some 1,000 artifacts spanning a millennium of Islamic history. The adjacent Ismaili Centre, Toronto, will include a prayer space and rooms for social, educational and cultural events.

“The center creates an understanding of the values, ethics, culture and heritage of Ismaili Muslims,” a statement from Canada’s 90,000-strong Ismaili community said.

Ismailis are an offshoot of Shiite Islam. They are spread across 25 countries but united in their allegiance to Prince Karim Aga Khan.

In opening the museum, Harper praised the Aga Khan, who “has greatly contributed to demystifying Islam, throughout the world, by stressing its social traditions of peace, of tolerance and of pluralism.”

In his remarks, the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary imam (spiritual leader) of Ismaili Muslims, lauded Canada for having accepted thousands of Ismailis who fled persecution in Africa and Asia.

When the Aga Khan set out more than a decade ago to build a landmark museum to house his family’s collection of Islamic art, he wanted to locate it in London. When those plans fell through, he chose Toronto because of the city’s large Ismaili population and his strong ties to Canada.

The connection grew stronger, and in 2010, the Aga Khan was named an honorary Canadian citizen, one of just six people on whom the honor has been bestowed.

The Ismaili Centre, Toronto, which is winning kudos for its modernist architecture, is the sixth in a network of such facilities in Vancouver, Canada; London; Lisbon, Portugal; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://fr.artmediaagency.com/102307/ouverture-de-laga-khan-museum-a-toronto/

Ouverture de l’Aga Khan Museum à Toronto

Toronto | 22 septembre 2014 | AMA | |

Le premier musée d’art islamique en Amérique du Nord, l’Aga Khan museum de Toronto, a ouvert ses portes le 18 septembre 2014.

Le musée, entièrement financé par le Prince Karim Aga Khan, aura coûté 275 M€, et a pour objectif de permettre à un large public de comprendre l’Islam, et de favoriser la diversité. L’institution comprend plus de 1.000 pièces qui proviennent en majorité de la collection familiale des Khan, qui inclut de rares manuscrits du Coran. Les pièces présentées, parmi lesquelles une sculpture de marbre réalisée en Espagne au XXe siècle, permettent de découvrir l’évolution de la civilisation musulmane de la péninsule ibérique jusqu’à la Chine

Le bâtiment de 10.000 m² — construit sur un site vaste de près de sept hectares — a été réalisé par l’architecte japonais Fumihiko Maki, lauréat du Pritzer Architecture Prize. L’Aga Khan Development Network, qui est à l’origine du projet, est également à la base du Centre Ismaélien, une branche de l’islam, dont Aga Khan est le chef spirituel.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://es.euronews.com/2014/09/19/jardin-eterno-en-el-museo-aga-khan/

Jardín eterno en el Museo Aga Khan

19/09 17:13 CET



Toronto abre las puertas del Aga Khan, el primer museo de América del norte dedicado, exclusivamente, al arte musulmán.

Detrás de este ambicioso proyecto está el príncipe Karim Aga Khan, actual Imán de los musulmanes chíies ismaelíes nazaríes.

El complejo arquitectónico que lo alberga es obra del arquitecto japonés Fumihiko Maki.

Más de 1.000 obras de arte son expuestas en sus salas, entre ellas, ejemplares del Corán de los siglos VII y VIII.

La exhibición “El Jardín de las Ideas” es la cita de esta temporada en la que seis artistas pakistaníes reinterpretan el tema siempre intemporal del jardín.

Imran Qureshi, artista pakistaní: “Cuando vine a Toronto, el pasado mes de abril, para visitar este museo me mostraron todo el recinto y me dijeron que podía exponer mi trabajo donde quisiera. Cuando ví el jardín, un espacio inspirado de los jardines persas, tuve la idea de realizar pinturas en miniatura, un arte que he cultivado desde hace años, así que, no tardé en proyectarme en este espacio y hacerlo mío. Parece inspirado de un jardín persa pero no lo es, en realidad, es mucho más moderno, contemporaneo, mi trabajo habla de eso.”

Las cerámicas, caligrafías,instrumentos científicos, pinturas y tejidos provienen de las civilizaciones islámicas de China a Al Andalus.

El Museo Aga Khan espera atraer a unos 250.000 visitantes al año.

Copyright © 2014 euronews
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.arte.it/notizie/italia/inaugurato-a-toronto-il-museo-aga-khan-9754



home
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Notizie

Tra gli obiettivi principali: promuovere il dialogo tra diverse civiltà
Inaugurato a Toronto il Museo Aga Khan
Fath 'Ali Shah seduto su un trono decorato con pietre preziose


L.S.

20/09/2014
Il Museo Aga Khan apre a Toronto con lo spirito di favorire scambi tra la civiltà musulmana e le altre culture. Si tratta del primo museo del continente americano dedicato completamente all’arte a alle culture islamiche.

I progetti dello spazio espositivo e dell’adiacente Centro Ismaelita sono opera dell’architetto giapponese Fumihiko Maki che ha spiegato come l’edificio sia dominato da linee angolari e sia posizionato a 45° rispetto al nord perchè tutte le superfici esterne ricevano luce durante la giornata. All’interno, lo spazio è invece organizzato per accogliere sia le collezioni sia i programmi culturali di carattere educativo che il museo intende promuovere.

L’investimento congiunto dell’Aga Khan Development Network e dell’Aga Khan Trust for Culture si aggira sui 300 milioni di dollari. Denaro messo al servizio dall’idea strategica di creare un’istituzione volta a stabilire un legame identitario con le minoranze musulmane e a diffondere la conoscenza delle società e della storia dell’Islam, ancora poco familiari al mondo Occidentale, specialmente in Nord America.
Anche la decisione di insediare il progetto a Toronto si basa su una serie di astute considerazioni: la città ad essere ben collegata, manifesta una forte attitudine al multiculturalismo.

In occasione dell’apertura, accanto alla collezione permanente composta da più di mille oggetti (manoscritti, dipinti, miniature, ceramiche, tessuti e strumenti musicali), sono in cartello due esposizioni temporali: la prima è dedicata ad una raccolta di miniature realizzate in Iran e India nei secoli XVI e XVII; la seconda abbraccia il lavoro di un gruppo di artisti contemporanei pachistani.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a video of Thu, Sep 18: Kris Reyes is live from the museum of Islamic arts and culture.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/video/kris-reyes-aga-khan-museum-162513204.html
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/10/03/enlightened-islam-fights-back-against-jihadist-brutality-272650.html

NEWSWEEK

Aga Khan Museum: Enlightened Islam Fights Back Against Jihadist Brutality

By Hugh Pearman / September 24, 2014 6:33 AM EDT

Under: Culture, Canada, Islam, Islamic Art

At a time when the worldwide media image of Islam is dominated by nihilistic merchants of extreme violence, and just as the world wearily mobilises to meet this savage threat, something calmly encouraging happens in Toronto, Canada, to help redress the balance. Eighteen years in the planning, the $300m Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre complex opened its doors to the public on September 18th: two highly significant buildings by master architects in a new 17-acre city park. It is a cultural complex that celebrates the other Islam: the artistic, intellectual and scientific achievements of Muslim societies from ancient times to the present.

The Aga Khan is the super-rich worldwide imam and prince of the Ismaili branch of Shia Muslims, who number some 15 million across 25 nations and regions. Swiss-born, French-based but a British (and now also Canadian) citizen, 77-year-old Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan IV looks like the businessman he is, but runs a series of charitable foundations mostly devoted to helping the developing world. In contrast the Toronto project exists to promote Islamic art and culture to the western world. He enjoys a racehorses-and-superyacht lifestyle, but the Aga Khan is a very active Islamic moderate and progressive, promoting secular pluralism, the advancement of women and the elimination of global poverty.

This enlightened Islamic cultural fightback is in an unlikely setting at first glance: a medium-to-high-rise business-park eastern suburb of Toronto, right by a busy multi-lane highway. The lush new landscape around the buildings, including 550 large mature trees transplanted for the purpose around a series of large, gently flowing rectangular pools, attempts to make a contemplative world of its own. Usually such public buildings are surrounded by acres of parking lots: here (this being Toronto where winters are harsh and snow-heavy) most cars are banished into a huge underground garage, so freeing up space for the park. And the Aga Khan has funded not only the museum but also donated its permanent collection of more than a thousand treasures including ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, 16th century Persian paintings, textiles and architectural fragments. There is exquisite work here: a plani­spheric astrolabe from Southern Spain in the 14th century, or the marvellously painted pages of the 16th century Persian Book of Kings. All that is on the ground level. Upstairs there will be an on­going programme of temporary exhibitions – the place opens with two shows, one identifying the skilled artists of the royal courts of Iran and India from the 15th century, the other a look at today’s contemporary art from Pakistan. It’s also a performing arts centre with a packed programme, especially of music and dance.

The aim is, as Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said at the opening ceremony, to demystify Islam “by stressing its social traditions of peace, of tolerance and of pluralism”. The Aga Khan confined himself to the gracious platitudes expected of royalty on such occasions: it was his younger brother, Prince Amyn – instrumental in getting the project built – who spelled out why they were doing it. There was a “knowledge gap” between Muslim and non-Muslim societies, he said. “The result of that gap is a vacuum within which myths and stereotypes can so easily fester, fed by the amplification of extreme minority voices. Symbols become confused with emblems. Images of demagoguery or despotism, of intolerance and conflict, come to dominate in such an environment with global repercussions. I believe strongly that art and culture can have a profound impact in healing misunderstanding and in fostering trust even across great divides.”

The two buildings are by famous octo­genarian architects – Japan’s 86-year-old Fumihiko Maki, responsible for the sharply-chiselled white granite museum, and India’s 84-year-old Charles Correa, at the helm of the free-flowing Ismaili Centre including a virtuoso prayer hall beneath an all-glass pyramidal roof, rising 65 feet high. They sit side-by-side in the new park by Lebanon-­based landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic. Exhibition design is by Adrien Gardère from Paris, so this is all as international as could be. It doesn’t all quite hang together yet. Perhaps it’s just too raw and new, perhaps the two buildings are just too different, maybe it’s the curious Nowheresville setting, for this is nowhere near the city centre. When the landscape has filled out in a decade or so, it could be a very special oasis. For now, the emphasis is all on Maki’s museum but the most telling architectural gesture is Correa’s prayer hall: a genuinely uplifting light-filled space beneath its soaring double-skin opalescent glass roof, glowing at night like a beacon. Entirely modern, it is a powerful, mysterious object, duly aligned to Mecca. Maki recognised Correa’s achievement, and in turn aligned his huge museum entrance towards it to frame the view: a nice gesture by one architect to another. As for Correa’s own inspiration, he’s pretty clear about that: it’s the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright who was a master at handling light. Religion? The Aga Khan is relaxed about that, pointing out at the launch that Correa had previously designed Hindu and Christian buildings. The only brief the Prince gave his architects was to design their buildings around the concept of light. “You have to have the freedom to speak in your contemporary voice,” says Correa. “You devalue that if you just make a cartoon version of history. There’s no need to do golden domes.”

Court of Keyomars The museum collection contains artefacts and artworks from Iran, India, Turkey, Egypt, Sicily, North Africa and China and spans more than a thousand years of history. Tom Alban/Aga Khan Museum

Why Toronto? The city was chosen not only for its famously multicultural, peaceful society (with a sizeable Ismaili population among it) but also for its proximity to the United States and a large population within a one-hour flight. But the self-funded nature of this place means that – unlike public art museums and theatres – it is not depended on grants or visitor numbers. Museum director and ancient history scholar Henry S Kim – previously responsible for the lauded £70m transformation of Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum in the UK – is fore­casting a conservative 250,000 to 300,000 visitors a year. That’s a quarter of the number that thronged his Ashmolean after it reopened, and Oxford is tiny compared to Toronto. Much will depend, everyone agrees, on the pulling power of a deliberately fast-changing exhibition and performance schedule. Plus, one hopes, curiosity, a desire to learn.

Progressive in spirit these buildings may be, but both make generous use of Islamic geometrical motifs – in floors, walls, screens, ceilings. The central courtyard of Maki’s museum building has modern versions of the geometric paving and surrounding screens we associate with, say, the Alhambra. Though at the launch there was some spirited discussion among the scholars present about whether there was even such a thing as “Islamic art”. Luis Monreal, general manager of the Geneva-based Aga Khan Trust for Culture, declared that the very idea was absurd given the overlapping societies and beliefs that gave rise to this art over many centuries – such as Mughal India, or Moorish Spain. Then there are the enormous differences between the art of the Arab Middle East, and that of the old Persian civilisations. The lesson of all this is the lesson of living together Monreal concluded. It’s a compelling message in these times of atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion: that ideas and culture are what matter, and that these are all to do with ­people, not necessarily faith.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/09/aga-khan-toronto-inside-n-america-first-islamic-art-muse-201492182139718812.html

Inside N America's first Islamic art museum
Toronto's newly opened Aga Khan Museum aims to showcase Islamic civilisation's contributions to world heritage.


Sonya Fatah Last updated: 26 Sep 2014 11:58


The museum houses the Aga Khan family's heirlooms, spanning centuries of Islamic art [Sonya Fatah/Al Jazeera]

Toronto, Canada - When he heard that a landscaped Persian garden was under development in Toronto, David Chalmers Alesworth laughed.

Last week, however, as the artist, educator, and sculptor made his way across a cross-section of suburban highway sprawl in Toronto's northeastern Don Mills neighbourhood, and entered the gardens surrounding the newly opened Aga Khan Museum, he was genuinely amazed.

"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," said Alesworth, whose work was exhibited as part of the opening temporary exhibit titled "The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan." "It's a real bringing together of the worldly and the spiritual."

Rows of serviceberry trees lead visitors into a garden quartered by water channels, five reflecting pools, long walkways and pebbled paths - the work of Lebanese-Serbian landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic. The centrepiece of the garden, a white granite battlement, is broken up by crenels throwing patterned light and shadows into the museum. Inside, there is a veritable trove of Islamic delights. The building houses the Aga Khan family's heirlooms, which span 10 centuries of Islamic art, including the earliest known copy of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine.

Filling a 'knowledge gap'

The Aga Khan Museum is the first museum in North America dedicated to showcasing Islamic art. The museum is the vision of Aga Khan, the leader of the Ismaili community, the second-largest Shia group in the Muslim world.

"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.

The museum opened its doors on September 18 to reveal its permanent collection of more than 1,000 artifacts from the Iberian peninsula to China, alongside two temporary exhibits, "In Search of the Artist" and "The Garden of Ideas" - which the museum's director, Henry Kim, called the "lifeblood" of the museum.

"They open people's eyes and they change people's perceptions," Kim said while addressing museum-goers at a special exhibit preview, discussing the need to engage audiences with contemporary art from the Muslim world.

Among those who meandered through the museum during the special exhibit was Farhee Chundrigar, a Pakistani-Canadian artist who knew many of the artists whose works were exhibited. "What an exquisite gift to the city of Toronto," she told Al Jazeera. "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."

The mission

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."

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

- Farhee Chundrigar, artist

The collection from Pakistan was an effort to engage Torontonians with contemporary art from a country with a challenging political present and a burgeoning art scene. The exhibit, curated by Sharmini Perera, demonstrates that diversity with its six artists presenting a range of styles and ideas.

Alesworth, who is from the UK but moved to Pakistan 20 years ago - and is now a Pakistani citizen - is also a landscape designer. He started working with old Kashan carpets almost a decade ago.

One of the most interesting pieces in the Pakistan exhibit is Alesworth's embroidered map of Lahore's Lawrence Gardens on a Kashan carpet, which he accurately describes as "boiling with detail". (The gardens are now named Bagh-e-Jinnah.) Alesworth's focus on the country's colonial era sets him apart in the Pakistani art scene, but it also shows the range and diversity of work the Aga Khan Museum is interested in showing.

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."

A warm reception

Indeed, Torontonians have given a warm reception to the museum. It has been lauded not only for its contribution to the city's diversity of museum fare but also for its architecture.

But unlike the city's other contemporary museum spaces, the Aga Khan Museum shares its space with the Ismaili Centre of Toronto, a religious, cultural, and educational centre for the Ismaili community, which opened September 12 and was designed by the father of contemporary Indian architecture, Charles Correa.

"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," said Irina Mihalache, an associate professor at the University of Toronto's Museum Studies programme. "From the perceptive of a museum studies scholar, I think it is interesting to see how the museum addresses these two different communities."
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.lereporter.ma/culture/breves-culture/3587-mus%C3%A9e-d-art-islamique-%C3%A0-toronto.html


Musée d'art islamique à Toronto
Le Reporter
Publié le 27 Septembre 2014
Affichages : 47

Toronto accueille, depuis le jeudi 18 septembre, un musée dédié à la civilisation musulmane. Ce musée est considéré comme le premier musée d'art islamique en Amérique du Nord. Il offre au large public une collection permanente qui contient plus de 1.000 pièces, dont des chefs-d'œuvre représentant un vaste éventail de styles et de matières artistiques.

Ces portraits, textiles, miniatures, manuscrits, céramiques, tuiles, textes médicaux et instruments de musique représentent plus de dix siècles d'histoire humaine et une zone géographique s'étendant de la péninsule ibérique à la Chine. Une preuve des contributions artistiques, intellectuelles et scientifiques des civilisations musulmanes au patrimoine mondial!

Le musée et le Centre Ismaili de Toronto ont été inaugurés, le vendredi 12 septembre 2014, par Son Altesse Karim Aga Khan et le Premier ministre canadien, Stephen Harper. Pour mémoire Karim Aga Khan a créé en 1977 le Prix Aga Khan d'architecture pour récompenser l'excellence en architecture dans les sociétés musulmanes. L'architecte français, Jean Nouvel, a obtenu ce Prix en 1987 pour la réalisation de l'Institut du Monde Arabe à Paris.

Initié par la Fondation Aga Khan (du nom du guide spirituel des ismaéliens), le Musée Aga Khan de Toronto est le dernier membre du Réseau Aga Khan de développement.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwart/article/First-US-Islamic-Art-Museum-The-AGA-KHAN-MUSEUM-Opens-in-Toronto-20140925

First U.S. Islamic Art Museum, The AGA KHAN MUSEUM, Opens in Toronto

September 25
12:29 2014

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, which is dedicated to presenting an overview of the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage, has officially opened its doors to the public on the 18th of September.

The Museum's Permanent Collection of over 1,000 objects includes masterpieces that reflect a broad range of artistic styles and materials. These portraits, textiles, miniatures, manuscripts, ceramics, tiles, medical texts, books and musical instruments represent more than ten centuries of human history and a geographic area stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to China.

Designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, the Museum shares a 6.8-hectare (17-acre) site with Toronto's Ismaili Centre, which was designed by architect Charles Correa. The surrounding landscaped park, designed by landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic, will provide an exciting new green space for the city of Toronto.

"One of the lessons we have learned in recent years is that the world of Islam and the Western world need to work together much more effectively at building mutual understanding - especially as these cultures interact and intermingle more actively," commented His Highness the Aga Khan. "We hope that this museum will contribute to a better understanding of the peoples of Islam in all of their religious, ethnic, linguistic and social diversity."

From their earliest origins, Muslim civilizations have been characterized by a remarkable diversity of geographies, languages, and cultures. Toronto - and Canada more generally - is internationally recognized for embracing such diversity. The city therefore provides an ideal home for an institution that strives to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among the world's cultures.

"The Aga Khan Museum has an international outlook," observes Henry Kim, Director of the Museum. "Home to a collection of astonishingly beautiful works of art, it will showcase the artistic creativity and achievements of Muslim civilizations from Spain to China. I think local and international visitors will be greatly surprised when they discover just how much the arts of Muslim civilizations are a part of our shared global cultural heritage."

Since 2007, over 1 million people have experienced the splendour of the Aga Khan Museum Collection. The Musée du Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, the Sak?p Sabanc? Museum in Istanbul, the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore have all hosted temporary exhibitions of major works of art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection.
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