Aga Khan Museum’s Special Exhibition “The Garden of Ideas” is a Fine Example of Collaboration and Partnership Between Artists, the Museum and Corporate Sponsors

Henry Kim, the CEO of the Aga Khan Museum pictured with members of Aljomaih Group, Trimark Capital, and Asharys who supported the inaugural exhibition entitled "The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan." Pictured (l to r): Aziz Shariff, Ann Smiley, Carolina Shariff, Ashraf Shariff, Henry Kim, Herve Steimes, Eric Hamid, Shan Ashary, Hussein Shamji, and Fallon Butler. Photo: Gary Otte/AKDN. Copyright.

Henry Kim, the CEO of the Aga Khan Museum pictured with members of Aljomaih Group, Trimark Capital, and Asharys who supported the inaugural exhibition entitled “The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan.” Pictured (l to r): Aziz Shariff, Ann Smiley, Carolina Shariff, Ashraf Shariff, Henry Kim, Herve Steimes, Eric Hamid, Shan Ashary, Hussein Shamji, and Fallon Butler. Photo: Gary Otte/AKDN. Copyright.

“THE GARDEN OF IDEAS – Contemporary Art from Pakistan”
(Exhibition runs to January 18, 2015)

Prepared and compiled by Malik Merchant
Editor, http://www.simerg.com

“…Without cultivation a garden would cease to exist. Similarly, without cultivation of the mind and soul, it is believed a society cannot progress. The “Garden of Ideas” brings together the work of six internationally acclaimed artists whose creations play with, question, and interrogate the timeless theme of the garden…”

Garden of IdeasColumn ImageThe Aga Khan Museum’s mandate of seeking to build strong ties with renowned museums around the world, forging relationships with Canadian and International institutions and communities, as well as building local and international connections is clearly evident by partnerships it has already formed. Indeed, one of the temporary exhibitions with the theme “The Garden of Ideas” honours this spirit of collaboration upon which the Museum is built.

“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 Museum as well as 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 exhibitions by outstanding local and international artists, and be a boon to the artistic community.

Every Museum in the world, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the British Museum in London count on corporate sponsors to come forward, and form short or long term commitments to enhance the museum’s capacity for cultural and historical understanding among the communities and visitors it serves.

For example, in the United Kingdom, BP has been supporting the work of the British Museum for the past several years by being a sponsor of hugely successful exhibitions such as the Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings, Journey through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead and Shakespeare: staging the world resulting in over 1 millions visitors to BP supported exhibitions.

Indeed, corporate sponsorships extend to well beyond just hosting temporary exhibitions.

John Lyon’s Charity granted support to the British Museum’s Talking Objects program, a three-year community engagement program that placed the interaction between young people and museum objects at its core. Such interactions are part and parcel of the Aga Khan Museum’s own initiative and vision with regard to the youth where the Museum is seeking to engage with them in numerous ways including hosting School Programs, Visual Story Telling, Master Classes and The Hive Jam sessions. In another collaborative effort, Samsung has formed a partnership since 2008, developing an engaging and innovative digital learning program through the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre which is offered to schools and families. This has transformed the British Museum into a world leader in digital learning in museums, and over 10,000 children every year use the latest Samsung technology to explore the British Museum’s collection in creative and educational ways.

'garden of Ideas" exhibition in the upper gallery of the Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

A view of “The Garden of Ideas” exhibition in the upper gallery of the Aga Khan Museum. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Philanthropic support is another key factor for any Museum’s acquisition and expansion plans. Again, an example from the British Museum is worth mentioning. Collecting archaeological coin finds of British importance can be a very expensive undertaking and this was recognised by the late Mr. Kenneth Day in a substantial bequest he made to the Museum from his Estate. One of the causes that had been of particular interest to Mr. Day was collecting coins important to British history, and making them as widely available to others as possible. His legacy, therefore, will support that new discoveries of archaeological coins are represented in the British Museum’s collection.

Atif Khan's "One and Other" located just outside the Museum as part of the special exhibit for "The Garden of Ideas." Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

Atif Khan’s “One and Other” located just outside the Museum as part of the special exhibit for “The Garden of Ideas.” Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg

The Chairman of Trimark, Mr. Aziz Shariff, mentioned how responsive the Aga Khan Museum was when he and members of the Aljomaih Group and Asharys approached the Museum to find out ways by which they might act as sponsors. The idea for “The Garden of Ideas” had already been conceived and planted long before the three sponsors arrived at the scene, but the invitation to support the cause of this temporary exhibition was gratifying. Such joint collaborations can enhance the work of the Museum, and be a big boon to talented and outstanding artists who might wish to have their remarkable works of art portrayed at the Museum, just as has been done with the artists in “The Garden of Ideas.”

An enchanting "The Garden of Ideas" work in the Park located at the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

An enchanting work from The Garden of Ideas in the Park of Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Centre. Photo: Malik Merchant/Simerg.

“The Garden of Ideas” continues until January 18, 2015, and Simerg welcomes reviews of the exhibition from visitors to the Museum. The writer of each original published piece (300 – 500 words) will receive a $75.00 gift certificate that can be used at the Aga Khan Museum gift store. Please send your review with photos along with your profile to simerg@aol.com.

Date posted: Monday, October 20, 2014.

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