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Art that transcends borders at the Aga Khan Museum

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Art that transcends borders at the Aga Khan Museum

Aga Khan Museum celebrates the creativity and artistic contributions of newcomers with a season focused on stories of immigration.

The Aga Khan Museum’s Winter/Spring 2020 season features 51 visual artists, 15 performances, and 10 speakers, representing more than 50 countries worldwide. Many are immigrants or refugees themselves, while others are descendants of recent immigrants.

“In our era of unprecedented global migration, we at the Aga Khan Museum believe we have a duty to challenge narratives that cast immigrants and refugees as a threat to the integrity our communities,” says Henry S. Kim, the Museum’s Director and CEO. “As residents of Canada, we benefit enormously from welcoming newcomers and the perspectives they bring. By seizing opportunity in defiance of adversity, they embody the best of the human spirit.”

With this programming, the Museum intends to counter any inaccurate and negative stereotypes about migrants.

The museum believes that many visitors will see their own journeys and stories of migration reflected in the art presented. Others will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of their newcomer neighbours and of the millions of people who leave their country of birth each year out of fear for their lives or in search of better opportunities.

Highlights of the Museum’s Winter/Spring 2020 program include:

In the main exhibition, Sanctuary, 36 contemporary artists, including Mona Hatoum, Brendan Fernandes, and Ai Weiwei, meditate on the theme of sanctuary through the unexpected medium of traditionally woven rugs. This exhibition will showcase hand-woven rugs, each expressing a personal human story related to immigration experience. These artworks challenge viewers to think about sanctuary in the context of conflict, mass migration, and the personal quest to arrive and belong.

The Musuem’s Winter/Spring 2020 season includes a travelling exhibition, ‘Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From’

Another travelling exhibition, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, features the works of 15 global artists who are navigating their blended identities and act as emissaries between the cultures they inhabit. It’s a highly interactive exhibit that will allow visitors to see their own journeys and stories of migration reflected in the art presented. Artists use their chosen art forms — including painting, textiles, sculpture, conceptual art, multimedia, and calligraffiti — to visualize the complex ways an individual’s ancestral past interacts with the realities of their present and the promise of the future.

Finally, the exhibition Chrysalis, presented as a companion to the main exhibition Sanctuary, celebrates the tenacious individuality of refugee women living precarious existences in Greece. Photographer Olga Stefatou shares portraits of 11 refugee women in costumes made of foil emergency blankets, each with a heart-breaking story.

To learn more about the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and the exhibition, click here.

Note that the Aga Khan Museum is temporarily closing its doors to support community efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 and is tentatively scheduled to reopen on April 7. Please visit their website for updated information and exhibition dates

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