Simerg is an independent platform that focuses on the dissemination of knowledge about the faith, culture and news pertaining to the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims led by their Hereditary Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, through literary readings as well as artistic and textual expressions. It also brings to its readers news, events and programs that are of interest to all readers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Simerg supports 2 more independent initiatives, Barakah.com and Simergphotos.com
Both the Glenbow at the Edison in Calgary and the Ismaili Centre Toronto venues of Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s exhibition The Living Sea — Fragile Beauty have provided me with ample opportunities to meet people of all ages to hear what they think about the exhibition in general and which specific photographs, if they had to pick only one, impressed them the most. I am delighted to present a selection of video and audio recordings of the beautiful voices I have heard in the last few days.
(1) ZOHEB NAZERALI, Ismaili Centre Toronto
(2) SOPHIA SULEMAN, Ismaili Centre Toronto
(3) ADRIENNE, Ismaili Centre Toronto
More audios below
(4) ADEN WALJI SAYED, Ismaili Centre Toronto
(5) ADYAN MOMAN, Ismaili Centre Toronto
More audios below
(6) SALMA and TAJ JADAVJI, Glenbow at The Edison (Calgary)
(7) ADAM WALJI SAYED, Ismaili Centre Toronto
(8) IRIAN, Ismaili Centre Toronto
(9) KHALIL NAZARALI
Date posted: May 27, 2023. Last updated: May 29, 2023 (typos and restore missing audios.)
Please visit our sister website Barakah for our exclusive reports and photographs of Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s presentations in Calgary and Toronto.
At Calgary’s Ismaili Headquarters Jamatkhana this morning, May 14th, 2023, attending members gathered in the social hall after prayers to celebrate a birthday with a cake. Spread across the “chai” and “mandazi” table were beautiful fresh rose stems. All mothers received a rose each, followed by inspiring prayers as well as tributes to mothers around the world from the Mukhi and Kamadiasahebs (leaders of the congregation.) It was absolutely refreshing to see beautiful smiles on the faces of all the mothers of all ages that early in the morning. But it was MOTHER’S DAY!
Hours earlier, before leaving home, I had sent individual Mother’s Day wishes to special friends I have known for many years. In response, one of them sweetly replied with fond prayers for my health and added the 4 letters HUGS!
At this, my thought immediately turned to a photograph taken by Prince Hussain Aga Khan in August 2018 in La Paz, Mexico. A small print as well as a much larger print of the photo appears at his Living Sea exhibition in Calgary that opened to large crowds on Thursday, May 11 — the stunning photographic exhibition continues at Glenbow at the Edison until May 21, and the entrance is free. The photograph is entitled “Moving Mummy Hug” and it is of a sea lion swimming with its baby, hugging it momentarily. The absolutely amazing photograph has touched the hearts of everyone who has seen it and one visitor said to me in a short interview for my first day’sreport: “Prince Hussain captures moments with these animals that shows that they have this almost human characteristic — this love, this energy that really helps people relate to them and really feel for them…. He almost photographs them as if they are members of his own family…. It’s really a neat feeling that you have when you look at these, and I think of my own children and I think of these animals with their own calves, and its just unbelievable.”
So, I say to everyone visiting today and for the remainder of the duration of the exhibition, view this photograph and others from close, from a distance and from different angles. Prince Hussain notes in the photograph’s caption, “There were about 8 sea lions in that location, all moving at different speeds and in different directions. But this duo seemed organized and even purposeful. The hug lasted seconds or less. It was completely unexpected.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers around the world and to all specials friends who are mothers!
“I am amazed at this entire exhibit because of how intimate the photos are in telling the story of each animal and their interaction with other animals under the sea…. Prince Hussain captures moments with these animals that show that they have this almost human characteristic – this love, this energy that really helps people relate to them and really feel for them” — visitors to The Living Sea, May 11, 2023, opening day, speaking to Simerg
For several days, I have been excitedly looking forward to the Canadian debut in Calgary of Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s photographic exhibition entitled The Living Sea: Fragile Beauty. I wanted to capture the moment at 11 AM on Thursday May 11, when the first batch of visitors entered the exhibition hall at The Glenbow at Edison located in the heart of Calgary’s downtown. Alas, some important maintenance work was underway in my apartment that delayed my arrival until almost 1 PM. All visitors were warmly greeted by volunteers as they walked through the front doors and reached the 2nd floor of the Edison. The staff manning the registration desk were courteous and processed the visitors speedily. Prince Hussain’s latest book of sea animal pictures “The Living Sea,” was also available for purchase at the desk and I eagerly acquired my personal copy before they sell out. The price is CDN $80.00 + 5% GST. I was informed that, as of the opening time, almost 7,000 visitors had registered to attend the exhibition, which runs until May 21. With permission to conduct small interviews, I began my tour of the beautiful exhibition hall by first studying an informative timeline as well as profile of Prince Hussain.
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Then, in front of my eyes, along the entire length of the hall, was a collection of amazing and beautiful photographs of sea animals that Prince Hussain has captured over the last several years starting from his youthful days. Visitors viewed and admired photographs from different angles with fascination and interest, noting some fine details of the photographs. Many felt they were deep in the ocean with the sea creatures they were seeing in front of them. Children showed a great deal of interest and asked their parents insightful questions about the sea creatures. They had come to see the photographs as well as to learn.
I wasted no time in approaching a few visitors for their overall feedback about the exhibition and the photographs that they liked the most. Everyone I approached happily gave me a few moments of their time. My interviews were short and precise and I am pleased to include a couple of audio recordings as well as transcripts from all recordings that I carried out (the transcripts are edited for clarity).
The exhibition is free to attend and you can register for tickets by clicking on The Living Sea: Glenbow at the Edison. Public parking is available at parking areas located about 5-10 minutes from the Edison building. I would urge you to reserve your free tickets without delay — and take your children and grandparents with you. They will thank you for showing them the wonders of the ocean.
Visitors share their favourite photographs with Simerg
Exhibition volunteer:I have two favourite photos: One is the side-profile of the Hammerhead’s face. Classically, when certain animals are photographed, you only see them in a certain way but he [Prince Hussain] has captured this animal from a totally different angle that I have never seen before. It just brings to light different features and just makes you appreciate this amazing creature in a different way; and I just think that’s consistent across his photos in terms of how he captures them in a very unique way.
The second favourite I have is Mum’s Hug which is a sea lion with its baby and they are swimming together and Prince Hussain captures moments with these animals that shows that they have this almost human characteristic –- this love, this energy that really helps people relate to them and really feel for them and understand why the Prince does what he does, and why he cares the way he does. He almost photographs them as if they are members of his own family…. It’s really a neat feeling that you have when you look at these, and I think of my own children and I think of these animals with their own calves, and its just unbelievable.
Mamnuna (last name inaudible): I am here at the exhibition The Living Sea by Prince Hussain Aga Khan. As soon as I entered the exhibition, I could feel the energy in the atmosphere. There is so much photography that you are oozing yourself in, and that’s an amazing feeling. I recommend that everyone comes to the exhibition and experiences this amazing feeling that I got today. My favourite photograph was the Clownfish. I just love how Prince Hussain captured it. His emphasis is on the fish and the photograph is very clear. By looking at the fish, you feel the fish is looking at you. It is amazing!
David Silverberg (audio)
David Silverberg (transcript, edited): I am amazed at this entire exhibit because of how intimate the photos are in telling the story of each animal and their interaction with other animals under the sea. I am especially fond of the Hammerhead Shark that you first see when you first walk into the exhibit, because I have never seen such a close-up photo of this very unique shark that isn’t really in movies and in pop-culture as much as the Great White Shark and other kind of sharks. Its detail of the open mouth and the eyes that look very creepy and predatory is something I won’t soon forget.
Donna and Michelle (audio)
Donna (transcript, edited, last name inaudible): I came to see this [exhibition] and I did not know what I was coming to see but I am so glad that I did. I did not know we have such beautiful creatures living in the ocean. And I would never be able to see them if somebody had not taken the time to do this. These pictures are absolutely incredible and some of them are funny and this man has a sense of humour, and its just too bad he isn’t here to give us a speech because I would love to be able to tell him, “Thank you very much for giving me such a pleasant day.”
Michelle Burns (accompanying Donna, transcript, edited): I think this thing is absolutely amazing! He has got details on every single picture. I think my favourite is of the big huge one of the sea lion, and I am also going to say this turtle — the big turtle. I like some things he has got on there, the things that are happening — such as the percentages of animals that are left of some species compared to what the situation was 20 years ago. As she (Donna) said, the sense of humour that the Prince has is just amazing. It’s the best thing I have ever seen in a long time. I loved it!
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Casey Anwar: We came to the exhibition because I like sea creatures and I saw a portfolio on the website. My favourite picture is probably the pregnant Tiger Shark because I have never ever seen a pregnant Tiger Shark swim around and I love sharks.
Name inaudible (accompanying Casey): I came for the same reasons. The exhibition is very serene and majestic. And my favourite image is definitely the two Humpback Whales, child and mother, ascending from the deep with the rays of sunshine coming up.
“Given that humans live on land, we tend to have a rather terrestrial-centric view of the world. But when we consider that 98% of Earth’s biosphere, the place where life can exist, is made of water and that every other breath a human takes cycled through the sea, it becomes clear that the ocean is not only vital to our planet, the ocean is our planet” — Brian Skerry, in introduction to Diving Into Wildlife (2nd ed., 2015). Skerry is photojournalist and contributor to National Geographic
“The work of Hussain Aga Khan is visual poetry created in the sea that seduces the viewer to discover her mysteries and leads people to care ….Through his work, Hussain tells an important story. It is a story about a magnificent place he has explored, photographed and shares with us now. It is a story about a place quite unlike any other, and is a place that needs our help” — Brian Skerry, in introduction to Diving Into Wildlife (2nd ed., 2015)
Spaces for the “The Living Sea – Fragile Beauty” are filling up fast, so get your free ticket NOW by clicking on GLENBOW AT THE EDISON.