Cities Of The Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries Of Kyrgyzstan - Exhibition And Book Launch

Date: 09 May 2015

Time & Venue: 

Symposium and Panel Discussion: 4:30pm – 6:30 p.m.
Bellerive Room, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
Exhibition & Book Launch and Keynote Lectures: 8:00 p.m.
The Ismaili Centre, Toronto, Canada
49 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON, M3C 1K1
Ticket: $20
The University of Central Asia, in partnership with the Global Centre for Pluralism, the Aga Khan Museum, and the Aga Khan Council for Canada will host a symposium, exhibition and book launch for Cities of the Dead: the Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan beginning Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 4:30 p.m., with an evening lecture beginning at 8:00 p.m. at the Ismaili Centre.
Traveling in Kyrgyzstan, photographer Margaret Morton (Cooper Union) became captivated by the otherworldly grandeur of Kyrgyz cemeteries – the ornate domes and minarets, tightly clustered behind stone walls, seemed at odds with the desolate and majestic mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Morton’s extraordinary photographic record of these buildings highlights the unique architectural expression and complex nature of Kyrgyz religious and cultural identities, and bears witness to the architectural and cultural legacies of Central Asia. Cities of the Dead: the Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan is part of the University of Central Asia’s Cultural Heritage Book Series, produced with support from UCA and the Christensen Fund, and published by University of Washington Press.
Morton’s lecture will take the audience on an illustrated journey through Kyrgyzstan. Professor Nasser Rabbat (Aga Khan Professor, MIT) will discuss the diversity of funerary architecture in Islamic history and Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova (University of Central Asia), who accompanied Morton on her travels in Kyrgyzstan, will provide a context for funeral customs and the cultural practices of the Kyrgyz people, including the rich tradition of oral history in Kyrgyz traditions. Both scholars provided texts for Cities of the Dead. A moderated discussion, audience Q&A, and book signing will follow the lectures.
The interdisciplinary pre-exhibition symposium will feature presentations by Professor Morton, Dr. Kochumkulova, and Global Centre for Pluralism scholar and Carleton University Professor Dr Jeff Sahadeo, who will present the findings of his paper: History and Memory: Implications for Pluralism in the Ferghana Valley.
Morton’s photographs will be exhibited at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto from 9 May - 31 July 2015. The exhibition and lectures are part of Cities of Arrival – a series of lectures, workshops, performances and activities that explore the pasts, presents and futures of cities and urban spaces.
To register and purchase tickets for the symposium, visit:
To register and purchase tickets for the evening lecture, visit:
Refreshments will be served.
For further information on UCA's Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit and publications, please visit:
For further information on the Aga Khan Museum, please visit: 
For further information on the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, please visit: 
For further information on the Global Centre for Pluralism, please visit:
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