The Gulshan and Pyarali Gulamali Nanji Family Foundation has gifted a transformative multi-million-dollar donation to the Aga Khan Museum that will expand the Museum’s reach and impact millions of people around the globe, deepening their understanding of Muslim arts and cultures and their connection with the world.
The generous donation will also enable the Museum to enhance onsite and digital learning around the Museum’s renowned Permanent Collection and engender significant, unique Performing Arts programs which provide opportunities for communities to connect through collaboration and performance.
Dr. Ulrike Al-Khamis, CEO, Aga Khan Museum, elaborated, “While we continue to refine our plans for enhancing the onsite and online learning experiences around our Permanent Collection, we are excited about our upcoming exhibition, Night in the Garden of Love, and the unique and creative ways in which it explores digital experiences.”
“Within the exhibition, British-Pakistani artist Shezad Dawood places us at the intersection of the digital and analog worlds,” Al-Khamis explained. “Through several collaborations, he developed a virtual reality experience, a series of algorithmically generated plants, and a unique scent installation created with the help of artificial intelligence. These elements collectively allow us to witness technology’s creative potential in a very tangible way.”
Its digital offerings have been a core attribute to the visitor experience as well as the museum’s mission since its opening in 2014.
Said Al-Khamis, “Interactive experiences, both onsite and remote, are pivotal to the Aga Khan Museum’s mission and vision as we grow our impact both locally and globally. They create engaging and impactful learning opportunities for a host of diverse audiences, helping us make the museum more exciting and interactive for visitors of all ages. Our online offerings amplify our accessibility, which is at the heart of our commitment to ensuring art is within everyone’s reach.”
“We are truly humbled and awed by the transformational donation from the Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji Family Foundation,” added Al-Khamis. “This phenomenal gift will enable us to drive our mandate of building intercultural bridges through the arts while growing our Museum and its impact with the aim of contributing to more inclusive and peaceful communities.”
I also asked Al-Khamis about her favourite digital offerings at the Museum.
“I have so many favourites,” Al-Khamis began, “but one of our most impactful digital initiatives to date is our exceptional podcast, This Being Human. Featuring inspiring, internationally recognized guests, the podcast is a true testament to the Museum’s mission — sparking intercultural conversation and connecting cultures through the art of storytelling.”
“Beyond that, our #MuseumWithoutWalls also deserves a special mention as it extends the complete Museum experience to our visitors all around the world,” shared Al-Khamis. “Including our online collection, both synchronous and asynchronous school programs, our 3D exhibition tours that transport visitors directly into our galleries, our world-class performances, relayed from the Museum stage, and our Curator’s Picks, which give fascinating insights into our artworks.”
The generous donation behind the Museum’s planned expansion is the largest granted by the Nanji Family Foundation to an arts organization. In recognition of their longstanding generosity and support, the Museum’s Auditorium will be renamed the Nanji Family Foundation Auditorium
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