Family Site


Why do we make images? What do we want to say with them?

This artwork is made up of images! These 275,000 images are of everyday things, like a pet, a haircut, a shadow, a coffee cup. Through this work, the artist is trying to show us how easy it is to take photographs in today’s world, and how many images we take and see all around us every day.

Download Activity: Photo Installation

Roberto Pellegrinuzzi (b. 1958)
Digital photographs printed on backlite film and mounted on nylon threads
4.26 x 6.09 x 8.53 m
Courtesy Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal
© Photos credit « François Lafrance »

Power and Authority

This is a painting, or portrait, of Sultan Selim III. It shows him wearing royal clothes and a turban. He is holding a diamond watch. Below the sultan is a scene with his ships and boats setting sail. This painting was made to share with other kings and queens in Europe. When they saw it, they would understand that Selim was a rich and powerful king who ruled over a large country.

Download Activity: How Do You See Power?

Portrait of Sultan Selim III
Turkey, Istanbul, ca. 1805
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
54.1 x 40.5 cm
Aga Khan Museum, AKM220
© The Aga Khan Museum

Faith and Spirituality

This beautiful artwork is a ‘word portrait’ of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed is God’s messenger. The words in the centre describe what he looked like, so that people who read the words can imagine and think about him and all his perfect features and characteristics in their own personal ways.

Download Activity: Word Portrait

Signed by Hafiz Osman Efendi
Turkey, Istanbul, dated 1099 AH/1687-88 CE with later additions
Opaque watercolour and ink on paper mounted on leather
© Image courtesy of University of Michigan Library Isl. Ms. 238

Values and Ideals

This painting is part of a manuscript, or book, called The Rose Garden of Love. It shows Prince Manohar on a journey to find Princess Madhumalati. On this journey, the prince is attacked by a snake-like creature. But he survives the attack and finds Madhumalati. We know that Prince Manohar is the brave hero of this painting because he is shown as the largest person in the scene, wearing white.

Download Activity: Seek and Find!

A Sea Serpent Swallows the Royal Fleet
Folio from a manuscript of Gulshan-i ‘Ishq (The Rose Garden of Love)
India, probably Hyderabad, ca. 1710
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
39.3 x 23.5 cm
Aga Khan Museum, AKM167
© The Aga Khan Museum

Identity and Self

This photograph was taken in Egypt in the 1870s, not long after photography was invented. It was designed as a visiting card that you could give to friends when you visited their home. People would collect these cards to create a gallery of their friends! The clothes, jewellery, hairstyles, and props used in these portraits would tell the viewer a lot about the identity and importance of the person in the picture.

Download Activity: What Makes You… You!?

Portrait of a Woman
Schier & Schoefft
Egypt, Alexandria, 1870s
© Image courtesy of Getty Research Institute, Ken and Jenny Jacobson Orientalist Photography Collection, 2008.R.3, No.2639

Next, Selfie Reflection

Look at the detail of the work and you see that this work is made up of thousands of selfies. These are photos that people took of themselves in 2020 and 2021. Through this work, the artist shows us that selfies have always been important to photography.

Download Activity: Selfie Reflection

Together, Alone
Rashid Rana (b. 1968)
© Image courtesy of Artist