Gala Night Opening: Islamic Museum of Australia
The Islamic Museum of Australia, the first museum of its kind in Australia centred around showcasing the art, heritage and contributions of Muslims, was officially opened by the Hon. Joe Hockey and the Hon. Nicholas Kotsiras at a VIP function on the Museum premises on Friday 28th February.
The event was attended by a number of high profile supporters and partners of the museum including Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Mike Smith, Chief Executive Officer of ANZ, Peter Gregg, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Leighton Holdings and Ahmed Fahour, Chief Executive Officer of Australia Post and Patron of the museum. Ambassadors and dignitaries from various Muslim countries were among the international guests, including His Excellency Mr Nabil Mohammed A. Al Saleh, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Yousef Ali Al-Khater, the Qatari Ambassador and His Excellency Dr Hassan Hanafy Mahmoud El-Laithy, the Egyptian Ambassador.
Guests were greeted at the entrance of the museum by a very well behaved camel and her handler, reminiscent of the early pioneering Afghans who provided invaluable assistance to early settlers in the 1800s and opened up Australia’s harsh interior. Proceedings began with a ‘Welcome to Country’ by Ron Murray, representative of the local Wurundjeri tribe, including a performance on a didgeridoo that was then presented as a gift to the IMA Founder Moustafa Fahour.
At the conclusion of the speeches, Joe Hockey ceremoniously cut a specially-marked orange ribbon placed across the entrance to the galleries to officially open the IMA. Guests were entertained by a traditional Acehnese performance and then saw international award-winning calligrapher, Sabah Arbilli, paint his contemporary calligraphy piece ‘Bismillah’ live in the Islamic Art gallery.
VIP guests were then treated to a sumptuous banquet in the multi-purpose function hall courtesy of Samira El Khafir, the 2013 MasterChef top 3 finalist who runs the Modern Middle Eastern Café at the museum. Speeches followed and then guests were taken on a guided tour through the museum. A spectacular fire-juggler performance farewelled the guests as they left the
IMA Chairperson Maysaa Fahour
We hope readers will be keen to visit the IMA and take in its wonders for themselves!
Board Member, Islamic Museum of Australia