Exploring the Concept of Eden through Islamic Garden Design
“…the very premise of paradise is bound to a time beyond this life. This means that to create paradise on earth is an act of imagination and creativity… These gardens, sometimes centuries old, are at once real and unreal. They are works of fiction. Inhabited and inhabitable. Of the past but dedicated to the future.”
~ Manzar Sammi, Paradise Past, 2018
Throughout the history of Islam, gardens have been seen as embodiments of Paradise, reflecting
the bounty of Allah and the blessings of life. Indeed, Paradise is described as a garden not only
in the Qur’an, but in countless works of spiritual literature and poetry which portray a lush green
sanctuary, irrigated by lakes and fountains.
Making Paradise brings together digital reproductions of classical miniature paintings from Aga
Khan Museum’s permanent collection with other eastern and western depictions of elements
associated with Paradise, including Islamic geometry, traditional ceramic work, gold work
embroidery, hand-stitched textiles, collage and modern applique techniques.
The exhibition includes work by Farkhondeh Ahmadzadeh, Veeda Ahmed, Clare Celeste Börsch, Jethro Buck, Jung Byun, Alessandro Cancian, Emma Clark, Rachel Dein, Mohammad Barrangni Fashtami, Sharmina Haq, Yasmin Hayat, Zarah Hussain, Jane Lee McCracken, Karen Nicol, Olga Prinku, Shorsh Saleh, Geoff Sample, Soraya Syed and Ross P Taylor.
Making Paradise is at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery, London until 30th September 2021.
Image credits (from top):
1. Farkhondeh Ahmadzadeh, Canticle of the Birds – Debating the Journey, hand-made watercolour with natural pigments; Lapis lazuli, malachite, indigo, gold and palladium, 2020
2. Clare Celeste Börsch, Geo Biodiversity III, handcut paper illustrations in layers of flexiglass, 2018
3. Soraya Syed
4. Jane Lee McCracken
5. Shorsh Saleh, Underneath which geometry flows II, 2018
6. Shorsh Saleh, Underneath which geometry flows III, 2018
7. Yasmin Hayat, fruits of heaven plate
8. Yasmin Hayat, pomegranate plate
9. Veeda Ahmed, Earth, fine watercolour pigment, 2018
10. Veeda Ahmed, Fikr, 23 carat shell gold and fine watercolour pigment, 2018
11. Jethro Buck
This is part of FIELDS, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring fields as natural and (agri)cultural, invisible and visible, poor and productive, created and creators. FIELDS is conceived and edited by Marloe Mens.