As part of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations that commenced on 11 July 2017, the Aga Khan Council for Kenya and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), will once again host the updated Rays of Light exhibition. Initially debuting as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in December 2008, the exhibition, then a photographic journey through 50 years of Imamat, has since attracted over 100,000 visitors across various continents, including Africa, Australia, North America and Europe.
Now updated to include material from the last 10 years of the Imam’s and AKDN’s work and global accomplishments, the exhibition contains additional new interactive features including some exciting virtual reality components that compellingly depict the Imam’s commitment to fulfilling his mandate of bettering the human condition.
Four years after it first debuted in the country in 2014, the updated ‘Rays of Light – Glimpses into The Ismaili Imamat,’ will be viewed in Kenya again. It will first be hosted at the Coast at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa from April 2 to 5, 2018, before moving to Nairobi’s Town Jamatkhana (Khoja Mosque) from April 5 to 26, 2018.
The exhibition will be open to both, members of the community and the public.
“In the last 10 years (since the Golden Jubilee), His Highness’ work has grown exponentially. Thus, there will be a lot of new material incorporated and communicated in different and newer ways” remarked the AKDN, Kenya, Diplomatic Representative, Dr. Azim Lakhani.
“The imminent arrival of the interactive exhibition will feature over 250 rare photographs along with engaging videos and multimedia clips, all of which provide extensive insights about the Ismaili community’s history and the work of the AKDN”, said Dr. Lakhani.
“The exhibition seeks to educate not only the Jamat, but the greater community within which it lives, the Kenyan society, of the work of the Imamat; the ethics, the principles and foundations upon which the Imamat and its institutions work. We hope the exhibition will demonstrate to the Kenyan population at large the work the Imamat and the Ismaili community do,” added the President of the Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for Kenya, Nawaaz Gulam.
Befitting of one of the objectives of Rays of Light which seeks to showcase the impact the Ismaili community has had within the local geography, the exhibition will be hosted at the landmark Town Jamatkhana, opened in 1922.
“Khoja Mosque, as it is popularly referred to, just celebrated its 96th anniversary. It is a beautiful building and has also been gazetted by the National Museums of Kenya as a national monument. People viewing the exhibition will be able to relate to our long-term presence and the community’s permanency in Kenya,” further added Dr. Lakhani.
“The establishment of the Town Jamatkhana was a further statement that we were here to stay. And as part of our faith, it is important we impact the society within which we live. Over the years, the establishment of the institutions has enabled us to do that. Every year, AKDN institutions impact millions of Kenyans in sectors of health, education and more,” emphasised President Gulam.
The Rays of Light exhibition is one of numerous activities held by the Aga Khan Council for Kenya and the AKDN that will mark celebrations in honour of the Imam’s Diamond Jubilee year. The recently concluded Aga Khan Music Initiative that featured Central Asian artists in a series of concerts was followed by the Jubilee Arts Festival (JAF). A global Diamond Jubilee initiative, the Jubilee Arts Programme seeks to promote previously latent talent in the spheres of arts, music and culture. Local artistes from various countries will congregate to compete at an International Jubilee Arts Festival that will be held in Portugal in July 2018.
“This initiative has shown us the immense talent we have within the Kenya Ismaili Jamat and in extension, Kenya as a whole. Kenya too is approaching its Diamond Jubilee celebrations (five years from now). I think as a country, if we are able to take this initiative and partner with civil society and the government in Kenya, we could have a rich programme for talent identification, people who can bring out their cultures and traditions and ultimately promote and celebrate our pluralism and diversity through music and arts,” the President concluded.