By Susan Lahey
Explore the visual beauty of Islamic art in the newly opened Aga Khan Museum. We are fortunate this summer to be able to visit the highly anticipated museum dedicated to Islamic art, the first of its kind in North America.
Join us for the afternoon to enjoy some of the most important artistic and scientific works of Muslim civilizations, spanning more than ten centuries and covering a broad geography from Spain to Southeast Asia. This connoisseur’s collection of the Ismaili patron His Highness the Aga Khan includes unique, rare and luxurious objets d’art such as ceramics, silks, ivories, metalwork, calligraphy, Qur’ans, carpets, astrolabes, medical instruments, Mughal Indian paintings and the 16th-century Persian Book of Kings (one of the world’s most prized painted manuscripts).
The 10,000 square metre museum building itself is a work of art, designed by one of the greatest living architects, Fumihiko Maki. The $300 million granite and limestone structure is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Islamic architecture, inspired by light, and featuring an open courtyard with reticulated tiles in the eight-pointed star design (mashrabiya) which create subtle light and shadow patterns throughout the day. The courtyard café features delicious treats to fuel your exploration. While the gift shop offers reading materials about the collection and the cross-cultural interactions between Muslim and non-Muslim civilizations.
Acres of public gardens surround the museum located on the northern outskirts of the city, with gleaming black granite surfaces of reflecting water pools, also designed in the Islamic tradition. The outdoor areas invite the viewer to enter a tranquil green setting which will be in full bloom on the day of our visit, July 21.
The Toronto Pursuits team looks forward to seeing you there!
Featured image of Aga Khan Musuem: JohnOyston/Wikimedia Commons.