The Permanent Collection of The Aga Khan Museum presents paintings, objects and architectural pieces from the civilizations of the Muslim world, with an emphasis of the Arab Near East, the Iranian world and Hindustan (the north and west of Indian subcontinent). The display follows a chronological order, it begins with the early spread of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula following the death of the Prophet Mohammad in 632 CE. The works of Art are grouped in a way that underlines the highly distinctive character of cultures and profoundly differ from one another and stretch from the Atlantic shores to the Pacific Ocean.
The Museum also houses collections of Islamic art and heritage from the private collections of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan.
In addition to displaying the Museum's core collection from multiple perspectives, the Aga Khan Museum features several temporary exhibitions each year that respond to current scholarship, emerging themes, and new artistic developments. The Museum’s Collections and Exhibitions are complemented by programmes in performing arts.
Experience the work of Parviz Tanavoli, acclaimed Iranian-Canadian artist, at the Aga Khan Museum! Three of Tanavoli’s sculptures — Poet in Love, 2009; Big Heech, 2014; and Tanavoli’s most recent work, Horizontal Lovers, 2016 — are now in display in the Aga Khan Park. This not-to-be-missed temporary installation marks the first time that Tanavoli’s Horizontal Lovers, sculpted entirely from bronze, is on public display for all to enjoy.
Join us for a truly unique, multi-sensory experience as the Aga Khan Museum transforms into a mesmerizing world of music celebrating the living traditions of the Muslim world and their interaction with other cultures through time and space.
The World of the Fatimids bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built the world’s oldest university, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences. At its height in the 10th and 11th centuries, the Fatimids established one of the greatest civilizations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East.
In 2003, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad lost their entire library due to looters who set fire to the collection during the invasion of Iraq.
Fall under the spell of rare objects that entranced the Renaissance masters! The Bruschettini Collection is renowned worldwide for its fine arts from the East — yet has never before been seen in North America. In a special exhibition exclusive to the Aga Khan Museum, discover a sumptuous selection of artworks.
What can an ancient Roman carving from the Museum’s Collection, reused and repurposed throughout time, tell us about being Canadian? The answers lie HERE. Experience Museum-wide installations of video, textiles, painting, and sculpture that convey the diversity of more than 20 artists. Think differently about identity this summer, and join us in celebrating Canada’s 150 years as a nation.
“It’s hard not to think of Afghan girls skateboarding as an unlikely clash of cultures. But when you see these children tearing around the skate park, shrieking with laughter, your preconceptions drop away... I hope that this collection captures something of their spirit: their joy in life, their individuality, and their community.” — Jessica Fulford-Dobson
Award-winning British photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson travelled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014 to document young girls participating in a unique program called Skateistan — an international NGO founded in 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan, to provide girls with a place to skate safely and a route into education.
Syrian Symphony orchestrates music, painting, and media arts by some of Syria’s leading artists and musicians. Along with contributions from other organizations such as Iconem, Atassi Foundation, COSTI, and Silkroad, this exhibition explores the roles of art and artists during times of upheaval and conflict.
Cultural rebellion and lyrical reflection come together in this world-premiere exhibition showcasing one of the most important collections of contemporary Iranian art. Encounter the works of 23 artists who have chosen self-expression over silence — men and women separated by generations but united in their desire to explore complex issues against a backdrop of political and social unrest.
Few countries have captured the world’s attention like Syria has today. Stories of conflict and displacement dominate the media and define people’s awareness of the place. Syria: A Living History brings together artifacts and artworks that tell a different story — one of cultural diversity, historical continuity, resourcefulness, and resilience. For over five millennia, this region perched on the eastern Mediterranean has witnessed great world civilizations comingling on its soil and producing art, literature, and culture that constitute the country’s rich legacy.
A breathtaking gateway to Muslim civilizations in Europe, the Alhambra in Granada, Spain is an architectural masterpiece. How can a contemporary architect complement its design, adding a visitors’ centre for the millions of people who flock to the site each year? Discover the vision — and artistic challenge — of Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza in this exciting exhibition. Álvaro Siza: Gateway to the Alhambra reveals the creative process and artistic genius of one of today’s greatest living architects.
They roam the pages of countless legends, tales and fables, and have inspired artists for centuries. Meet the marvellous creatures of such classic literature as the Shahnameh and Kalila wa Dimna. Through an astonishing variety of media — including manuscripts, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, glass, and metalwork from the 7th to the 21st centuries — the exhibition Marvellous Creatures celebrates these real and mythical animals and illuminates the knowledge contained in their stories.
The city we now know as Istanbul has been an important cultural and economic hub for centuries. Under its many guises — first as Byzantium, then Constantinople, and finally Kostantiniyye/Istanbul — this magnificent place has witnessed a succession of empires, the migration of peoples, and astounding urban growth.
Prepare yourself for a journey through memory and imagination with this remarkable installation piece by acclaimed Iranian photographer, poet, and filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Walls and doors are both boundaries and barriers. Yet doors offer us hope of entry or of escape — hope for connection, for finding another world, for finding freedom. With this evocative premise, Abbas Kiarostami presents the world premiere of his installation piece, Doors Without Keys.
Pushing boundaries, testing limits: this powerful exhibition from the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE runs the gamut from photography to installation, sculpture to painting, and more. Experience the work of 12 Arab artists who examine how private life is shaped by current political events.
In an exclusive Canadian showing, A Thirst for Riches: Carpets from the East in Paintings from the West points to the active history of trade between Europe and Muslim civilizations while exploring how beautiful objects acquire new meanings as they are exchanged.
The Muslim and Christian worlds collide in Armide, an opera in which the invincible Christian knight Renaud and the Muslim warrior princess Armide play out their doomed love affair against a backdrop of hopeless obsession, jealousy, and magic.
British painter, printmaker, and collector Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932) has been passionate about Indian culture, geography, and history for most of his life. Given this passion and his frequent visits to the country over a period of some 50 years, it is not surprising that India has had a lasting influence on his own work. For viewers, tracing this inspiration through paintings spanning Hodgkin’s career is an exhilarating experience.
The second half of the 16th century until the first half of the 19th century was a time of cultural merging that saw Persian themes, Indian colours, and Western influences find their way into Indian architecture and art.
In 1998, an Arab ship carrying goods from China was discovered at the bottom of the Indian Ocean off Belitung Island, Indonesia. Dating from the 9th century (China’s Tang Dynasty), the Belitung shipwreck is the earliest Arab vessel of this period to be found with a complete cargo, including silver ingots, bronze mirrors, spice-filled jars, intricately worked vessels of silver and gold, and thousands of ceramic bowls, ewers, and other vessels. Uncovering its mysterious origins reveals the interconnections between two great powers, the Tang and Abbasid Empires, whose influence collectively stretched from the East China Sea to North Africa.
Created for pleasure, spiritual reflection, and aesthetic contemplation, gardens have held many meanings. Beyond their beauty, they represent the human impulse to organize, contain, and collect the natural world. Without cultivation a garden would cease to exist. Similarly, without cultivation of the mind and the soul, it is believed a society cannot progress.
A lion at rest is captured in elegant strokes of black ink. The court of the epic King Keyomars is celebrated in vivid colours. A hero slaying a dragon is depicted in exquisite detail. The stellar works of art that make up the exhibition In Search of the Artist: Signed Drawings and Paintings from the Aga Khan Museum Collection depict a wide range of themes with extraordinary delicacy.