Aga Khan Academies students explore the Aga Khan Museum through virtual tour | Aga Khan Academies

Aga Khan Academies students explore the Aga Khan Museum through virtual tour

10 September 2021

On Wednesday, 8 September 2021, Diploma Programme students from across the Aga Khan Academies virtually toured the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada where they learned about Islamic art and artefacts from various Muslim civilisations.  

Led by the Director of the Aga Khan Museum Dr Ulrike Al-Khamis, students from the Aga Khan Academies in Maputo, Mozambique, Hyderabad, India, and Mombasa, Kenya explored four artefacts from Muslim civilisations in the 15th and 16th centuriesAs the students are learning about the still life genre in their Visual Arts classes, these artefacts were perfect examples as they demonstrated how natural and manmade objects and symbols tell stories of faith, identity, place, belonging and beauty.  

The virtual tour to the Aga Khan Museum has definitely been the highlight of the term so far, said Diploma Programme 2 student from AKA Hyderabad Shanaya Daredia. “It was an exciting and thrilling experience. Even though it was a virtual tour it still felt like I was physically present there. What made this different was the presence of other students from other Academies. We shared our perspectives that helped us enhance and build our own points of view. Everyone had a different connection with each artwork that made it so unique. Coming from various geographical locations and cultures, the significance of the artworks differed. Overall, the experience was joyful and a great learning experience. I went with an open mind and came back with so many thoughts. I loved it! 

After the students toured the artefacts and had a brief Q&A session with Dr Al-Khamis, the students were divided into groups in which they selected three artefacts of personal significance to them for an imaginary still life composition around a topic of their choice. Once the groups finished their discussions, they presented their pieces to everyone. Senior School Visual Arts teacher for AKA Maputo Rachael O’Dwyer said this part of the virtual tour was a great opportunity for students across the Academies to work together and share their own ideas.  

Students were asked to study and discuss pieces from the exhibition, and they brought forward fantastic insights, enabling a high level of discussion between peers, sharing their cultural experiences and perspectives,” Rachael said. Dr Ulrike Al-Khamis commended the students on their ideas and concepts, as well as their commitment to the process. The virtual tour overall was an incredible opportunity for the students to connect with their peers from the network, share their ideas and get a great start for their current unit in drawing at AKA Maputo, which is based upon the theme of observation and ritual.”  

Aside from developing a deeper understanding of the still life genre, Aga Khan Academies students found this enriching experience to be one that enabled them to appreciate other cultures and understand its significance in all aspects of our lives, including art.  

I learned that understanding the culture behind art helps us to learn about what happened in the past and also helps us carry the values of the past into the future,” said Diploma Programme 1 student Madina KhudobakshovaThe virtual tour experience was really nice. It was especially fascinating how we could tour a museum without actually visiting it and observe the rich cultures inside of it.