North America’s First Islamic Art Museum

Written By, Tahir P

The beautiful Aga Khan Museum opened in Toronto in September of 2014 after almost 20 years of construction and architectural planning. 

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The Aga Khan is the title of the spiritual leader of approximately 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims around the world. He is one of the richest royals in the world and is the chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network. He is also believed to be a direct descendant of Prophet Mohammed.

Museum director Henry S. Kim says that this museum was selected to be in Toronto as it has a large population of immigrants and its diverse culture therefore is an amazing place for the Aga Khan Museum. The Aga Khan believes that this museum will allow people from around North America to learn about Islam and it’s culture. The museum, offers a collection of over 1000 objects from history of Islamic Civilizations. The artifacts currently on display come from the 8th to 19th century from countries such as Iran, Morocco, Spain, India, and many others.

The 300 million dollar museum’s architecture is absolutely stunning and brilliant. The exterior of the museum is beautiful sleek white walls and crystalline domes. The architect’s design for the building was modern but also historically Islamic. When you enter the very high roofed building, you see a large open space  with a large outside courtyard in the middle. White walls as well as many skylights make the building very energetic, bright but also simplistic. The Aga Khan Museum’s very well known architects were 87-year-old Japanese, Fumihiko Maki, as well as late architect Charles Correa.

As for the gallery and its artifacts themselves, I was surprised at the beauty and complexities of them. Islam as a religion has always been very artistically driven, but no where in North America could you have seen a collection of this art until now. Some pieces include, rugs that were used hundreds of years ago in kings palaces and beautiful complex paintings that took years to make.

I believe this museum is one step forward to a Canada where all cultures are represented. I encourage everyone to visit this museum, especially when a lot of people have the wrong idea of Islam and what it is. Even the building itself makes you feel very sarine and happy because of the simple and modern designs. Below is a collection of photographs of the Museum.

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Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

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