PATRON AND BUILDER
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THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY
Date posted: May 27, 2015.
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WHERE NATURE GIFTS THE OUTDOORS
BY NAVYN NARAN
Its a place for contemplation,
In quiet pools with glimmering surfaces,
and bubbling of laughter.
In the presence of oneself or a group of others,
Welcome to the garden.
For nightime quiet,
For morning awakening,
And daytime walks
For enjoying the green earth,
the fresh smell of shrubs,
A place to sit
Where God is.
Where Nature gifts the outdoors.
Where my mind is at ease
and the murmur of the water,
the ripples from the raindrops
remind me how connected everything is.
How a central rhythm reverberates
twanging like a musical chord
in our individual auras…
Where does that send us?
I like the feeling that silhouettes these buildings
and transmits an energy reflected inside.
We are divine,
We are respectful,
We are compassionate,
We are all beautiful,
if we are only aware of who we are.
If sadness comes over you,
Come to the park.
And to the one side rises a spiritual space,
And to the other, a creative one.
Even in a busy place.
there is space.
Lines and curves, patios and earth.
A gift .
I too can enjoy the beauty and awakening.
BY IKHWAN ALLANI
Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Rahim
Three spaces that lift the spirit,
Have come to life.
Ah, how my soul has been eager,
For this blessed day to arrive.
The Museum stands as a symbol
Of culture and knowledge,
A beautiful expression of the Islamic heritage.
Every art piece reflects our wonderful tradition,
Cherishing poets, scientists and mathematicians.
1400 years of Islamic history,
coming together as one,
Step by step, piece by piece,
what a collection this has become.
Blessed I am, to witness the past in the present,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!
The Park is majestic, a sight of pure aesthetic beauty,
Humbly sowing the seeds of brotherhood and unity.
Every blade of grass promises a new conversation,
As fresh gusts of wind whisper new information.
Flowing water pledges
a cleansing of the mind and spirit,
Every thought, every action, one with the universe,
Blessed I am, to experience this natural ornament,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!
The Ismaili Centre is the abode of the soul, paradise,
Where the Lord and His believer
become one, synchronize.
The flawless rock crystal
is the epitome of perfection above,
Where light and shadow blissfully coexist,
intoxicated in love.
Ya Allah, Ya Ali, Ya Muhammad,
resonate with every heartbeat,
Humbled, I prostrate before The One,
I am now complete!
Blessed I am, to free my mind
From worldly involvement,
O soul, breathe, Be one with this moment!
May the Museum inspire the mind,
May the Park energize the body,
And may the Prayer hall purify the soul.
Date posted: May 26, 2015.
Last updated: May 31, 2015 (formatting)
About the writers: A regular contributor to this website, Dr. Navyn Naran was born in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, to Anaar and Badrudin Naran. After beginning her high school in the UK, her family immigrated to the USA where she has lived since. Dr. Naran went to medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently works in the Paediatric field.
Ikhwan Allani graduated from the University of Toronto, with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mental Health Studies. He currently works as a Medical Assistant at Appletree Medical Group, and has previously worked as a Research Consultant for The Centre for Mindfulness Studies, and as a Research Assistant at the University of Toronto.
BY ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
It is indeed a pleasure for Simerg to present a collection of photos with interviews that were done at the site of the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre on the occasion of Toronto’s 16th Annual Doors Open held during the weekend of May 23-24, 2015. These two new Islamic gems were added to this year’s Doors Open exploration roster of more than 155 architecturally and culturally rich buildings across Toronto.
The two iconic buildings were added to the Toronto landscape when they were officially opened last September by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in the presence of the patron, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) and 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. Prince Karim became the Imam of the Ismailis on July 11, 1957, when he was only 21. His Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated in 2017, the same year (and month) Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary.
It is estimated that more than 17,000 people visited the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre during Doors Open. Visitors described their experience as rich, and complimented the hosts for their excellent organization and the explanations that were provided. Several Toronto residents said they would return to visit the museum’s collection of Islamic art in greater detail.
Date posted: Monday, May 25, 2015.
Last updated: Friday, May 29, 2015.
PHOTOS CAPTURE THE 5 YEAR EVOLUTION OF THE SITE
April 2010: Preparation
It was officially announced in Jamatkhanas across Canada yesterday, May 17th, that the opening of the Aga Khan Park will, Inshallah, take place in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Monday May 25th, 2015. The announcement also noted that arrangements are underway to webcast the event live as well as telecast the opening ceremonies at Jamatkhanas across the country.
This follows the opening last September of two architectural gems, the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre and Jamatkhana, which adjoin the Park.
September 2011: Construction
The presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam once again in this country will be a source of immense grace and barakah, and the jamats across Canada truly offer their humble shukrana to their beloved Imam.
The Aga Khan Park is the newest addition to other civic green spaces established or restored by Mawlana Hazar Imam, such as the Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Forodhani Park in Zanzibar, Khorog City Park, Babur’s Gardens in Kabul, and the parks currently under development in Burnaby and Edmonton.
September 2014: Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum Opening
Mawlana Hazar Imam explains the significance of the garden in Islamic cultures and its establishment in Canada in the following remarks made at the Presentation of the Gold Medal by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in Ottawa in November 2013:
“… our faith constantly reminds us to observe and be thankful for the beauty of the world and the universe around us, and our responsibility and obligation, as good stewards of God’s creation, to leave the world in a better condition than we found it. The garden is, in this context, a particularly important space in Islamic cultures… Bringing such beautiful spaces to Canada is one of our intended contributions to the Canadian landscape. An example is the new park in Toronto which will surround the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre as well as new projects in Edmonton and Burnaby …”
The park’s architect, Vladimir Djurovic, describes its inspiring vision in the following manner in an interview in 2010:
“Our vision for the project is one that captures the essence of the Islamic garden and translates it into an expression that reflects its context and contemporary age. Embracing the five senses as the means to reach the soul, every space and garden are imbued with the delicate sensations that we seem to have lost in this fast-paced era.”
The Aga Khan Park is intended to be a space of tranquility and contemplation, and a place of beauty and reflection for the Jamat and the larger society. It is also designed to host educational programmes and outdoor gatherings, such as concerts and weddings. It will be an inviting space for diverse members of the larger community to meet, for families to gather and children to play.
It will be a place where people can take a walk, enjoy and immerse themselves in the beauty and majesty of Allah’s creation and perhaps also reflect upon the nature and significance of the two spectacular buildings that the park surrounds.
December 2014: Three Views of the Park
The Aga Khan Park is one of several significant Imamat institutions and projects established in Canada, including the Global Centre for Pluralism, the Ismaili Centres in Burnaby and Toronto, the Aga Khan Museum and the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat. Inshallah, through their respective functions and architectural idioms, these institutions will continue to express the aspirations, identity and values of our faith, such as respect for pluralism, the notion of a common humanity, search for knowledge and beauty, and balance between din (the sacred) and duniya (the material world).
In place of negative representations of our faith and the “clash of ignorance”, these “gifts” benevolently provided to us by Imam-e-Zaman will foster an increased and enlightened understanding of the faith of Islam, as well as stimulate dialogue and fraternity between different cultures and communities, which is so urgently needed today in a world filled with turmoil, intolerance and extremism.
Date posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
“The Garden of Ideas” is a collection of fascinating, inspiring and vibrant works of art by a team of six Pakistani artists in the gallery spaces inside the Aga Khan Museum as well as outside in the Park. The exhibition received a major boost when three international corporate sponsors stepped in with a generous donation. The three sponsors, Aljomaih Group, Trimark Capital and Asharys are from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan respectively. Future sponsorships, along these lines, would immeasurably add to the hosting of other fine temporary exhibitions by outstanding local and international artists, and be a boon to the artistic community writes Malik Merchant of Simerg….Read more at Collaboration and Partnership Between Artists, the Aga Khan Museum and Corporate Sponsors
….AND FOR ONCE, ENTER THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM FROM THE INDOOR PARKING LEVEL AND BE WELCOMED BY ENCHANTING ART WORK
Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre and their Park Perfect Breeding Ground for superb photo taking and winning great prizes including free membership
By Malik Merchant, Editor
Thursday, September 18, 2014, marked the public opening of the new Aga Khan Museum located on Wynford Drive in Toronto. Simerg marks the opening with a special photo contest in which a maximum of 25 prizes including youth and family memberships will to be given away to the top entries selected by a panel of three independent professional photographers, all from Ontario. The contest is open to all residents of Canada.
The Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre were officially on Friday, September 12, in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, members of the 49th Ismaili Imam’s family and invited guests.
A maximum of 10 annual memberships each for the YOUTH and OPEN categories for the top photos selected by a team of three professional photographers will be given to the winning entries. The submission deadline will be December 31, 2014. The winning photos will be announced on this website and simergphotos.com on or around in late January, 2015. In addition to the annual memberships, the judges will pick up 5 photos deserving merit awards. The merit winners will each receive a $50.00 gift voucher, entitling them to make purchases from the Aga Khan Museum Gift Shop.
There will be two categories. The Youth Category will be open to anyone 19 and under. A maximum of 10 annual youth memberships to the Museum will be given to the winning entries.
The Open Category is for those over the age of 19. It will be for all amateur photographers and photography enthusiasts who like to shoot photographs, either using a camera or their smart hand-held devices and phones! For this category, each photo has to be accompanied by a 75 to 100 word narrative to encapsulate the photographer’s experience of the Aga Khan Museum, the Ismaili Centre or their Park. Only spaces where photos are allowed to be taken will be accepted for the contest.
The opening few weeks of the museum will be the perfect breeding ground for passionate picture taking and writing a brief narrative, and if you are selected as a winner in the Open Category you will be one of 10 to receive an annual family membership.
Here are some ideas for taking and submitting photos: artistic and architecture beauty and grandeur of the projects, interior spaces including art work (where permitted) , landscape, nature (as in the park), as well as spontaneous moments involving people!
The prizes are as a result of gracious donations by numerous individuals and families in Canada and abroad. Simerg is deeply grateful to the sponsors of the prizes.
Each individual may submit up to 3 photos for consideration for the contest, all in high resolution. They should be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and accompanied by the photographer’s full name and address as well as telephone number(s) where they may be contacted.
Every photograph received (maximum 3 per individual) will be published on a special gallery page on this website. The judges will select the winners from the photos published in the photo gallery. The judges decision will be final.
We are thrilled to host this contest and look forward to a fantastic response from the public.
Post updated: October 1, 2014.