Aga Khan Museum, Canada, reopens after 3-month closure

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Jun 2020

The museum reopens its galleries on Saturday 27 June.

Aga Khan

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, has reopened on Saturday with new safety measures and “a slew of new programming” and safety measures "encouraging visitors to reconnect with art and culture in an inspiring, physical-distancing-friendly environment."

Awaiting visitors are three art exhibitions focused on the human drive to find sanctuary, make connections, and express themselves creatively in the face of upheaval and adversity, the museum said.

The exhibitions highlighting the museum's summer/fall programme for 2020 include Sanctuary, Chrysalis, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, and Wagner Garden Carpet.

Sanctuary showcases works by 36 contemporary artists meditating on the central theme through the unexpected medium of woven rugs while challenging the viewers to think about sanctuary in the context of conflict, mass migration, and the personal quest to arrive and belong.

The museum has invited art lovers to submit photos and videos which tell "many stories of hope and resilience," to be included in the same exhibition.

Chrysalis is a portrait series by artist Olga Stefatou who photographed 11 refugee women living in Greece and asked them to reflect upon their journeys to Europe. "Together, image and text give the women a platform to present themselves to the world as they wish to be seen: as individuals, each with her own reasons for leaving home, and each with her own expectations and hopes for the future."

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From is an innovative collaboration between the Aga Khan Museum and Luciano Benetton’s Fondazione Imago Mundi in which 15 artists from around the world -- including numerous Arab artists -- navigate their blended identities and act as emissaries between the cultures they inhabit. "All the artists use their chosen art forms — including painting, textiles, sculpture, conceptual art, multimedia, and calligraffiti — to visualise the complex ways an individual’s ancestral past interacts with the realities of their present and the promise of the future."

Wagner Garden Carpet is a loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland, comprising the oldest and grandest Persian carpet of its kind still in existence.

As the Aga Khan network reveals, "the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, has been established and developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The museum’s mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilisations have made to world heritage while often reflecting, through both its permanent and temporary exhibitions, how cultures connect with one another."

While reopening its doors to visitors and inviting them to the many spaces inside the museum (galleries, the shop, and the Diwan restaurant), the Aga Khan Museum's management made sure to put in place a set of safety measures, including timed-entry ticketing, control of physical distancing, touch-free automatic doors as well as general cleaning and disinfection protocols.


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