Saturday, 9 May, 2015
The Ismaili Centre, Toronto – Social Hall / 8:00pm

Cities of the Dead: The Ancestral Cemeteries of Kyrgyzstan
Elmira Köchümkulova, Senior Research Fellow, University of Central Asia
Margaret Morton, Professor, Cooper Union
Nasser Rabbat, Aga Khan Professor, MIT

Traveling in Kyrgyzstan, photographer Margaret Morton 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.

Morton’s lecture will take the audience on an illustrated journey through Kyrgyzstan. Professor Nasser Rabbat will discuss the diversity of funerary architecture in Islamic history and Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova, who accompanied Morton on her travels in Kyrgyzstan, will provide a context for the cultural practices of the Kyrgyz people. Both scholars provided texts for Cities of the Dead. A moderated discussion, audience Q&A, and book signing will follow the lectures.

Morton’s photographs will be exhibited at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto from May 9-July 30, 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.

The publication of 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.

This event is presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum, the University of Central Asia, and the Global Centre for Pluralism.

Registration for this event is now closed.

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