Excerpts from His Highness the Aga Khan’s speech given at the “Spirit and Life” Exhibition, London, UK.
This exhibition is designed to give us a glimpse into the future. What we see here today is the nucleus of the Islamic art collections of the future Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. This museum, which is being designed by the renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, is conceived as a primarily educational institution in the field of Islamic art and culture, a specific mandate that is not fulfilled so far by other North American museums. We hope and trust it will contribute to a deeper understanding among cultures – to the strengthening of true cultural pluralism – which is increasingly essential to peace, and to progress, in our world.
If I could express one hope for all of you, as you leave this place today, it is that you will appreciate even more deeply how much culture matters in Muslim societies, and how deeply culture is entwined for Muslims with matters of faith. This is why we call this exhibition: ‘Spirit and Life’. At a time when the forces of exclusion, alienation, and separation can often seem so threatening in our world, I am convinced that our ability to honor authentic symbols of pride and identity – and to share their beauty and their power with one another – can be a tremendous force for good. I hope you will feel the same way
Earlier, he also mentioned …
London, in particular, is a crossroads for widely diverse peoples – from every corner of the planet.
We can see the evidence of that in the impressive range of artworks found in places such as the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum just across the road – where Your Royal Highness recently inaugurated the impressive new Islamic Art Gallery. We see our comparatively modest exhibition here at the Ismaili Centre as a complement to that and other venues in this country which house Islamic Art, and which spotlight both its richness and its diversity.
You may visit the web site of Victoria and Albert Museum’s Islamic Middle East Gallery.