The Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park: Winners for “Why I Like This Photo”

Winner – Open Category

The Symbolism of the Halo

Dana Lopez is winner of Category 2 for her entry "The Symbolism of the Halo." Click image for enlargement.

By Dana Lopez

I enjoyed viewing Jim Bowie’s photo because of its symbolism. Two features are notable in particular. First, the area ringed by the halo appears calm, whereas the area outside the halo pulsates with heavy traffic. I came away with the impression that the haloed area represents a beacon in a hectic world. Second, the three bright lights inside the halo look like newborn stars, perhaps even a new universe. Viewed through this prism, the photo is asking us to make enlightenment the focal point of our daily lives. This interpretation is consistent with the desired impact of the center: to give strength to those of the Ismaili faith while beckoning others to explore the rich contributions of Islamic culture.


About the winner: Dana Lopez is law student studying to become a child advocate at the California Western School of Law. At age 40, she recognizes that personal enrichment in and of itself means little, compared to one’s contributions in improving the lives of others. She is honored to participate in this essay contest because she too believes that replacing fear with hope for a brighter future is the best way to ensure a stable civil society.


Winner – Youth Category

Camera in Balcony

Kathreen Anne Lelis is winner of Category 1 for her entry "Jim Bowie's Camera in Balcony." Click image for enlargement.

By Kathreen Anne Lelis

I like this photo because it depicts the rising beauty ought to be discovered and deserves a future glory. The building site is surrounded by streets and industrialized buildings to mark new development – the Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Center and their Park built at the center to serve as EMBLEM of a country with unity amidst cultural diversity. The light from the site shows its glowing hope in building a strong foundation to create glory. The camera serves as the people’s excitement to capture the priceless beauty made for them. It is facing the horizon which means that people are ready to face the opportunities the buildings offer and travel from the past to discover the reason of their success towards the future.


About the winner: Kathreen Anne Lelis, 21, studies at the San Pedro College of Davao City, Philippines.


A Note from the Publisher/Editor: We offer our congratulations to Kathreen Anne Lelis and Dana Lopez on winning their respective categories for the essay “Why I Like This Photo.” We received a total of 11 entries for this topic. The winners will receive the prizes as outlined in the original announcement at 2011 Simerg Essay Writing Contest – $1000.00 in Cash Prizes. We thank everyone who participated in this competition as well as the international panel of judges for dedicating their valuable time towards this important initiative. It is hoped that the Al-Mahdiya contest (named after the first Fatimid Capital in North Africa) will become an annual event and that participation will increase over time.

The winners for the topic “Why I am Excited About the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park” were announced earlier. Please click on the following links to read the two winning essays:

Essay by Emmanuel Iduma
Essay by Zohra Nizamdin


Previous post: Seeking the Forgiveness of the Imam of the Time: A Short Explanation (II)

4 thoughts on “The Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park: Winners for “Why I Like This Photo”

  1. Loved Dana Lopez’ interpretation of the photo. She brings out the halo as well as the three bright stars — remember ‘kawkab‘? and the plural for it?


  2. Certainly al-Mahdiyah (I would say Fatimid Ist) shined from the Middle East and now al-Mahdiyah (Fatimid IInd ) would shine from the WEST. For me the picture predicts the Noor-e-Imamat is spreading amongst the western culture, where it is needed and necessary.

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