Just in time for summer, the Aga Khan Museum unveils the imaginative exhibition Marvellous Creatures: Animals in Islamic Art. Magical creatures — from dragons, unicorns, and composite creatures to rainbow-coloured simurghs and shape-shifting demons — take centre stage in artworks spanning the 7th to 21st centuries. Immortalized in a breathtaking variety of media, they are as captivating today as they were when first imagined in classic fables and epics from the Middle East, North Africa, and Indian Subcontinent. An intriguing installation by Lebanese artist Mohamad-Said Baalbaki adjacent to the exhibition explores the human-headed winged stallion al-buraq.
“Whether you’re considering Aesop’s Fables, the Brothers Grimm, La Fontaine, or a Persian epic like the Shahnameh, marvellous creatures of all kinds play a powerful role in our collective imaginations,” says Director and CEO Henry Kim. “Animals are appealing at any age, yet they can also transmit wisdom across generations and cultures. This is a fascinating exhibition that will engage the whole family.”
Marvellous Creatures was originally organized by and exhibited at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar and features many works from their superb collection. The exhibition is expanded in Toronto with works from the Aga Khan Museum Collection and with loans from international private and public institutions. It is also animated with family-friendly opportunities, including a “build-your-own creature” station and a family storybook reading nook. Colourful icons in the first floor gallery and the Bellerive Room encourage visitors to look closely to discover a host of other magical beasts on display.
Coinciding with the May 7 launch of Marvellous Creatures, the Museum will introduce a new Family Admission rate: $50 for up to 2 adults and 4 children aged 17 and under.
For more information and the latest updates, please visit agakhanmuseum.org.