Seeds, Trees & Mountains

An exhibition exploring climate change with work by artists Veeda Ahmed, Samantha Buckley, Emily Ketteringham, Karim Ahmed Khan, Samanta Batra Mehta, Olga Prinku, Andrea Roberts and Diana Taylor.

In partnership with Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and One Resilient Earth. 

“The Earth turns to Gold, in the Hands of the Wise”
Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

This quote forms the overarching statement for Aga Khan Centre Gallery’s first in a series of exhibitions exploring issues around climate change. The presentation is a unique partnership between AKC Gallery, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and Wakehurst – RBG Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex – home to the Millennium Seed Bank and over 500 acres of diverse landscapes and plants from across the globe. Four participating artists have undertaken residences at Wakehurst or AKAH, drawing on their information resources to create work reflecting climate change. Two participating artists have responded specifically to the Rumi quote and two artists have made artwork based on trees native to the UK.

Seeds, Trees & Mountains, which commenced in January 2023, is formed of three phases, beginning with a screening of Voices from the Roof of the World, an environmental documentary film series sponsored by Aga Khan University, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Aga Khan Foundation and University of Central Asia about the climate crisis in High Mountain Asia.

Phase 1 included three-week film screening of Seasons 1 & 2 of Voices from the Roof of the World aims to raise awareness around the climate crisis in the earth’s highest mountain region stretching from the Pamirs to the Himalayas.

The films are produced entirely by local filmmakers from Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Nepal under the direction of Emmy winning Executive Producer Andrew Tkach. Special Screening Event & Panel Discussion in April (date tbc), the Gallery will host a special screening of two of the films with an interactive discussion with the Series Producer Andrew Tkach, one of the filmmakers, and a representative from one of the project sponsors (AKAH).

The overarching aim of the project is to share AKAH’s research around environmental stewardship and climate change adaptation using nature-based solutions, alongside RBG Kew’s monumental Garfield Weston funded Global Tree Seed Bank Programme. This programme conducts vital work around the preservation of key medicinal plants and endangered tree species in Pakistan; a country that connects all three partners. The ambition is to create a unique partnership that encourages, supports, and champions the exchange of knowledge and resources and which results in the alchemy of a beautiful and empowering visual art installation that interprets Rumi’s quote.

Phase 2 of Seeds, Trees & Mountains includes collaborations with Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and Wakehurst. Artists, Diana Taylor, Emily Ketteringham, Karim Ahmad, Olga Prinku, Samantha Batra Mehta, and Andrea Roberts, have created artworks reflecting the abundance of biodiversity. The artwork shown will include existing and new work produced during their residencies, revealing an idealistic view of the abundance of biodiversity based on specific information in relation to the work the partner organisations are involved, including data from Kew’s Garfield Weston Global Seed Bank and AKAH’s work on nature-based solutions.

The background behind this series of exhibitions comes from a confluence of ideas: making global issues important local issues, sharing Aga Khan Development Network’s and its many agencies current work around climate change, the key messages from climate change from both His Highness the Aga Khan IV and his son, Prince Rahim. Aga Khan Development Network’s commitment to climate protection and adaptation is firmly established. AKDN’s overriding principles are built on clear values and ethics that permeate all AKDN organisations and operations. Over the next five years AKC Gallery will curate imaginative and informative exhibitions and associated learning programmes focusing on climate change.

The exhibition also includes a variety of contextual narratives on our partner organisations’ work around the world, including Aga Khan Development Network’s climate ambition and commitment to reach net zero by 2030 across its global agencies.

Phase 3 brings in our partnership with One Resilient Earth. At this mid-point in the exhibition marks a dramatic shift in the exhibition content. Much of the artwork will change, new work will be installed to replace existing artwork, as a way of creating an indicator for discussion around loss and climate change and how we sit with this as humans. Through this shift in exhibition content and the exhibition’s Learning Programme, we aim to create more opportunities for discussion and engagement around climate change and the ways in which you can get involved in the conversation.

Special Event: Still-Life of Trees Among Mountains – Artist Talk by Karim Ahmed Khan on Saturday 22 April 2023

Join us on Earth Day to learn more about artist Karim Ahmed Khan’s incredible artistic practice. He is among a number of artists part of the Seeds, Trees & Mountains exhibition at the Aga Khan Centre Gallery. He joins us on a special visit from his homeland in Hunza Valley, Northern Pakistan, where among the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, he makes conscious artwork inspired by and deeply connected to concerns around climate change, the impact of this on the landscape and communities he calls home, as well as the wider global climate crisis. Places are limited click here to book:

Special Event: A Circle for Climate & Nature Emotions with Laureline Simon, One Resilient Earth on Thursday 15 June 2023 2 – 3.30pm 

Join us for what promises to be an engaging, inspiring and uplifting discussion event on climate and nature emotions – how we as humans deal with what is happening to our planet. It’s an opportunity to hear about the work of One Resilient Earth, network and contribute your thoughts within a safe circular space.

Places are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment;

Special Event: Nature’s Making, Unmaking & Loss – Gallery Reception & Panel Discussion on Thursday 15 June 2023 5-8pm 

This event provides a platform for a discussion on the dramatic shift in the exhibition content, why this took place and how this relates to the changing nature of our global bio-diversity.

Special Event in partnership with artist Diana Taylor, One Resilient Earth & Aga Khan Agency for Habitat. Come along to view the Seeds, Trees & Mountains exhibition, join us for drinks reception and panel discussion exploring themes of loss around climate change and its impact on our lives. Places are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment;

Other activities and events as part of the exhibition’s Learning Programme will follow in due course. These will range from various virtual and in-person artists talks, recycle and reuse workshops, formal film screening of one of the season 2 films from Voices from the Roof of the World documentary series and presentations by both Kew Wakehurst and AKAH. Please visit this and our Events pages for further announcements. Places are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment;

This exhibition is sponsored by AKU-ISMC, AKF-UK, IIS & AKAH