The Aga Khan Museum reopens its door with a slew of new programming and safety
measures encouraging visitors to reconnect with art and culture in an inspiring,
“The safety of our visitors and staff is our primary focus,” said Henry Kim, the Museum’s Director and CEO.
“Our intention is to make their return to the museum a safe and enjoyable experience. For this reason, we
have instituted a number of measures that don’t just comply with public health directives, but exceed them
to ensure the highest standards for keeping people safe.”
In addition, the museum has announced its redeveloped slate of programming for the year. Rebuild 2020
channels the museum’s commitment to reconnect and reinvigorate communities through the arts. “The
world has changed, and so have we,” Kim said. “As we rebuild our lives and livelihoods over the next few
months, we hope our visitors can look to the museum as a source of hope and inspiration.”
To celebrate its reopening, the museum is also implementing pay-what-you-can admission until July 26,
2020. Awaiting visitors will be three art exhibitions focused on the human drive to find sanctuary, make
connections, and express themselves creatively in the face of upheaval and adversity.
Highlights of the museum’s summer/fall 2020 program include:
• Sanctuary. For this exhibition, 36 contemporary artists meditate on the central theme through the
unexpected medium of woven rugs. These arresting artworks, including pieces by U.K.-based
Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum and Canadian Brendan Fernandes, challenge viewers to think about
sanctuary in the context of conflict, mass migration, and the personal quest to arrive and belong.
• Chrysalis. For this portrait series, artist Olga Stefatou photographed 11 refugee women living in
Greece and asked them to reflect upon their journeys to Europe. Together, image and text give the
women a platform to present themselves to the world as they wish to be seen: as individuals, each
with her own reasons for leaving home, and each with her own expectations and hopes for the
• Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From. In this innovative collaboration between the Aga Khan Museum and
Luciano Benetton’s Fondazione Imago Mundi, 15 artists from around the world navigate their
blended identities and act as emissaries between the cultures they inhabit. All the 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.
• Wagner Garden Carpet. On loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland, this piece is one of
the oldest and grandest Persian carpets of its kind still in existence.
On top of displaying works by leading contemporary artists and masters from history, the museum will
showcase new art submitted by community members from Toronto and around the world. Earlier this
spring, the museum called on art lovers to submit original photographs and short videos representing how
and with whom they have found sanctuary during the COVID-19 lockdown. Participants’ visuals and stories
will be featured in a new interactive art display that will serve as a companion to the Sanctuary exhibition.
As part of Rebuild 2020, the museum has modified its talks, performances, and other events to comply with
physical-distancing guidelines. For example, the Lapis Benefit, an annual signature fundraising event
celebrating the Museum’s achievements, diverse community, and mission, will take place on September 25,
2020 and boast both in-person and virtual elements. “This year’s event will incorporate all the enhanced
safety measures we have enacted museum-wide, while still delivering the intimacy and the emotional
connection people expect from a fundraising gala,” says Robert Baker, the Museum’s Chief Development
Officer. “Connecting cultures through the arts starts with building and nurturing relationships, which is what
Lapis is all about.”
For more details, visit www.agakhanmuseum.org