Exploring the concept of Eden through Art & Islamic Garden Design
29 April – 30 September 2021
Aga Khan Centre
The Making Paradise exhibition brings together a variety of approaches that explore the concept of al-Janna, the Garden of Eden and the concept of Paradise in Islam. More than 130 verses in the Qur’an mention or refer to Paradise, this being a clear indication of how central this theme is to the faith of Islam and to the spirituality of Islam. The atmosphere of Paradise is repeatedly described, not only in the Qur’an but also in myriads of works of spiritual literature and poetry, as an expanse of luxuriant, verdant and shady gardens, irrigated by rivers, ponds and fountains. In these post-Qur’anic works, the gardens of Paradise are also represented as secular realms of social intercourse, pleasure, romance and diplomacy, as well as a retreat from the hardships of work, conflict and a harsh environment.
This multi-sensory exhibition, Making Paradise, aims to evoke a sense of delight and wonder around the concept of Paradise. The exhibition invites us to be inspired by the visual interpretations of Paradise made by artists from across the world. Their work illustrates diverse approaches to the subject through a variety materials and processes — from classical miniature painting, Islamic geometry and pattern, hand-stitched textiles, traditional ceramic work and calligraphy to modern appliqué and painting techniques.