Skip to main content
Opening times this week:
Closed today
Except holiday Mondays
10 am - 5:30 pm
10 am - 8 pm
BMO Free Wednesdays 4 – 8 pm
10 am - 5:30 pm
10 am - 5:30 pm
10 am - 5:30 pm
10 am - 5:30 pm

Site Navigation


A visual journey through the life and legacy of a Sufi mystic

May 13–October 1, 2023

Temporary Exhibitions Gallery

This event has passed

This exhibition has closed.

Enjoy virtually with a 3D tour.

Page Navigation

This event has passed

Journey through the life and timeless legacy of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi (d. 1273), known as Rumi, in an inspiring exhibition celebrating one of history’s most famous poets, on the 750th anniversary of his passing.

Join us as we explore Rumi’s enduring impact through an examination of artifacts, manuscripts, and contemporary art.

Rumi will take you on a visual voyage through his early life in Central Asia, his experiences with displacement and migration, and his transformation into one of the most important mystical poets of the Persian-Islamic tradition. The exhibition will take a deep dive into the ways in which his words have inspired arts and culture, both past and present.

Rumi-inspired items on display with the exhibition's banner on the background that says
The Masnavi-yi Ma'navi mansucript of Rumi displayed in the front and in the background an image of Rumi made up of various smaller images

The Historical Rumi

Explore the rich historical, visual, and literary environment Rumi was immersed in, as well as his journey from Central Asia to the Lands of Rum (present-day Türkiye). Uncover the experiences and personal relationships that shaped his worldview and his poetry through a close examination of artifacts and works of art.

The Visual Rumi

Renowned for his vivid stories and meditations on perception, Rumi often explored the relationship between seeing with the eyes, understanding with the mind, and sensing with the heart. Delve into works of art from the Aga Khan Museum and other collections that explore the visual nature of his poetry.

Rumi in Translation

Experience the timelessness of Rumi’s wisdom by taking a close look at the ways in which his writings have been translated through time and how they continue to resonate with audiences today.

For the exhibition, The Aga Khan Museum has commissioned three new major installation works by leading contemporary artists.

Distance Between Homes

Afghan-Canadian artist Hangama Amiri invites you to consider how lost objects can give shape to feelings of in-betweenness and fragmentation. The textile installation references Amiri’s own experiences with displacement, which have often mirrored that of Rumi.

The Dream That Must Be Interpreted

Contemporary artist Erdem Taşdelen taps into the collective experience in this immersive installation that places you at the centre of an audio drama. Contemplate the varied ways in which Rumi has been translated, interpreted, appropriated, and appreciated as you listen to four characters weave through their transformative dreams.

The Elephant in the Dark

Engage your curiosity and sense of wonder with multidisciplinary artist Simin Keramati’s interactive installation. The Elephant in the Dark uses touch-based technology to bring one of Rumi’s most beloved tales to life.

One side of an interactive installation consisting of a blue wall with three TV screens showing videoclips of elephants and in front of the screens there are three mounts with with items representing body parts of elephants and each mount has an button that plays an elephant sound

Simin Keramati, The Elephant in the Dark, 2023

About the Artists

Collaboration with Toronto Metropolitan University

Take a closer look at Rumi’s story by engaging with interactive stations developed in partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries. Each station provides additional layers of interpretation, focusing on Rumi’s place in global history, taking you on a deep dive into the meanings behind some of the paintings and drawings inspired by Rumi.

Michael Carter-Arlt
Lead Developer and Project Manager

Ava Mozaffari
Assistant Developer and Multimedia Specialist

Jae Duk Seo
Assistant Developer

Liam Gregory
3D Printing Specialist

This exhibition is in compliance with provincial FCOISA regulations. Learn more.


Financially assisted by

Presented by

Supported by