Opened in Toronto in 2014, the Aga Khan Museum is home to over 1,200 masterpieces showcasing the arts of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Its dynamic collection of manuscripts, scientific instruments, paintings, ceramics and metalwork continues to evolve through new acquisitions.
Spanning the ninth to the 21st centuries, this collection shows the enduring power of tradition in contemporary art. Its mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilisations have made to world heritage.
Local and International Links
Through education, research and collaboration, the Museum fosters dialogue and promotes tolerance and mutual understanding. As a vibrant educational institution, the Museum encourages the full spectrum of public engagement with its diverse permanent collection and its ever-changing roster of exhibitions and innovative programmes – including music and dance performances, theatre, lectures, workshops and film screenings.
The Aga Khan Museum has an international mandate. It maintains strong ties with such institutions as the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. It is also deeply committed to forging relationships with Canadian institutions and communities. Together, these global and local connections generate exciting opportunities to enhance scholarship, inspire temporary exhibitions and produce public programmes honouring the spirit of collaboration upon which the Museum is built.
In designing the Aga Khan Museum, Fumihiko Maki, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, used light as his inspiration. Light is ever-present in the building and depending on the time of day or season will animate the building in myriad ways: throwing patterns on the exterior walls of Brazilian granite, enhancing interior spaces, or illuminating the open-roofed courtyard.
The compact building – 81 metres long and 54 metres wide – contains a variety of spaces, including two exhibition galleries, areas for art conservation and storage, a 350-seat theatre and two classrooms. Within an unmistakably contemporary design, Maki incorporates historical elements originating in Islamic cultures, building bridges between eras as well as civilisations.
The Aga Khan Park
Lebanon-based landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic designed the formal gardens of the Aga Khan Park. Based on a traditional Persian and Mughal chahar bagh (four-part garden), the gardens are given a natural geometry through ordered plantings of serviceberry trees.
The Ismaili Centre, Toronto
Across from the Museum is the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, designed by renowned architect Charles Correa. The Centre incorporates spaces for social and cultural gatherings, intellectual engagement and spiritual reflection. Its crystalline frosted glass dome roof, which marks the highest point of the 6.8-hectare site, is mirrored in the five granite-lined pools of the formal gardens.
The Aga Khan Museum, the Aga Khan Park and the Ismaili Centre, Toronto harmonise spirit, art and nature in a 21st-century context while maintaining a core connection to the history of Muslim civilisations.