The design of the Islamic Museum of Australia aims to challenge ideas of what and how an Islamic museum in Australia should be. The design is basically built around the idea of an “Islamic Exploratorium” and is envisaged as a vanguard of interactive and participatory experiences.
The mission is to create a culture of awareness and understanding through innovative environments, programs and tools that help people nurture their curiosity about Islam and build bridges of understanding between cultures.
Two main ideas form the basis of the design of the museum;
The first is the emphasis on its Australian Islamic context and resisting the temptation to orientalise the project. The rusted Corten veil that leads the patron into the museum is unmistakably an Australian icon material. This veil is perforated with modernised Indigenous art that tells the story of Muslim history in Australia from first contact with the Makassans, the Cameleers, pre-war and post war migration and contributions beyond settlement till the present day.
The courtyard that separates the new administrative building and the existing warehouse space also entrenches the aspect of place. The courtyard not only acts as metaphoric link with the notion of billabong but also to assist with cooled natural ventilation through louvered openings in the glazed walls that surround it.
The administration building is basically a white “glass box” representing the purity and sophistication of Islamic architecture. In this case, a flattened origami “unity sphere” and applied calligraphy, geometry and pattern are 6 a Glimpse of the future used to abstract the surface and portray sublimity as opposed to the richness and rusticity of the Corten veil.
The second is the way in which the Museum invites a visitor to enter, to discover, to “unravel” and to “decipher”….. This is enunciated by the very verse that adorns the front part of the building. An extract from the Holy Qur’an which translates as “so narrate to them the stories so that upon them they may reflect”
Simply put it means: come in explore and be exposed to a marriage that has existed between the civilised world and Islam for over a thousand years, come in and learn about the Muslim contribution to Australia, come in and see beyond the visages, beyond the veils, beyond the hype and beyond the stereotypes.
This invitation to journey through the museum is enhanced by a sense intrigue; a meandering path, not knowing what’s around the next corner, being drawn from darkened spaces to naturally lit spaces, seeing something of interest across the courtyard, across a void, beyond a balustrade in the distance without a clear line of direction as how to get there. The journey will ideally keep the visitor intrigued until they depart. The journey itself is interrupted by two events;
The project represents the culmination of a cooperative design development approach between Islamic Museum of Australia, Decipher Architecture, Leighton Contractors and numerous consultants including SMEC and WSP and Museum’s domestically and globally in particular.
The Islamic Museum of Australia is a not-for-profit foundation founded in May 2010 with the purpose of establishing the first Islamic Museum in Australia. It aims to showcase the rich artistic heritage and historical contributions of Muslims in Australia and abroad through the display of various artworks and historical artefacts.
This will be the first centre of its kind in Australia and will showcase a diverse range of Islamic arts including architecture, calligraphy, paintings, glass, ceramics and textiles. Islamic arts date back to the 7th century with the advent of Islam, and include the different artistic styles and cultural influences of various empires that came under Islamic rule, such as Spanish and Persian influences. The Museum also aims to promote new and established Islamic artists, both local and international.
The effort to establish this purpose-built Islamic Museum is geared towards sharing the artistic and historical achievements of Muslims internationally, and more importantly, in Australia. It will also provide unique cross-cultural and educational services offering fascinating insights into the Muslim Australian experience for visitors and school groups.
The IMA will look to continue the proud tradition that Australia, and namely the State of Victoria, have lead in becoming the Multicultural Hub of the world. This is through working with communities, cultures, faiths and developing centres to educate.
The centre will provide educational and cross-cultural experiences and showcase the artistic and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia and in Muslim societies abroad. It aims to foster community harmony and facilitate an understanding of the values and contributions of Muslims to Australian society.
The Islamic Museum of Australia is a community foundation with the vision of establishing a leading cultural institution to showcase and preserve the arts, history, culture and rich heritage that Islam and Muslim societies have brought to the world and more importantly Australia.
To provide visitors a unique insight into the Australian Muslim experience.
To promote community harmony and mutual understanding by sharing the arts, history, culture and heritage of Muslim communities in Australia with the general public. To provide a national resource centre detailing the arts, history, culture and heritage of Muslim communities in Australia and abroad. This will be open to tourists, school groups and members of the public.
To establish, preserve and document a collection that reflects the vitality, complexity and diversity of the arts of the Islamic world and exhibit this collection to the public;
To collect, preserve, archive and display significant documents and artefacts chronicling the history of Muslims in Australia.
To collaborate with Australian and International museums and galleries to operate a centre of excellence, hosting high calibre visiting exhibitions which will promote tourism and renew public interest.
To establish and operate a shop on the Museum premises to provide patrons with Museum souvenirs, crafts, artworks, exhibition information and a range of books on Islamic art and culture. The shop will include a café serving light refreshments.
To maintain a versatile community facility to provide a suitable venue for many cultural activities. These include: book launches, corporate functions, cross-cultural training, calligraphy, art & craft classes, among other events.