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Queens of India

Tasveer Art Gallery will exhibit a set of frames of royal women as a part of its tenth year theme

  Having completed a decade this year, Tasveer Art Gallery’s theme for forthcoming exhibitions has been designed around the idea of simultaneously looking back at the history of photography, as well as looking ahead at the future of the medium. This includes a wide selection of photographers, featuring vintage photographs that highlight the style of the Bourne & Shepherd studio, and commemorate the little-seen royal women of erstwhile Princely India, which will be exhibited in the city from November 6 to 14.

Gayatri Devi
Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, nee Princess Ayesha of Cooch Behar. Derek Adkins, dated 1951. Pics courtesy/MAP/Tasveer

These stand out from the abundant photographs of Indian royalty as the latter have always focused on the male members. Women were mostly unavailable because of several factors, including the practice of purdah that was prevalent at the time.
“The photographs in this exhibition function as documented history, pointing us towards ways in which these women circumvented and reinvented the traditional, or embraced and reinvented the modern. Serving as windows into a time of great political and social change, they allow us to map the transforming modalities and conditions of the princely class, and its complex relationship with colonialism and the British Empire,” according to a press release from Tasveer.

Maharaj Kumar Rani Sita Devi of Kapurthala, among the peonies. Cecil Beaton, 1937
Maharaj Kumar Rani Sita Devi of Kapurthala, among the peonies. Cecil Beaton, 1937

The images are from the archives of the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), royal collections from across the subcontinent and other institutional and private collections, both in India and abroad such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Amar Mahal Museum & Library in Jammu.

Tasveer will also exhibit two photographic series that had a great impact on the perception of the botanic world in a two-man show by Swapan Nayak and Gilles Bensimon. There will also be a group show based on projects featured in the Tasveer Journal focusing on a crop of emerging young artists with
several photographic takes on life.

From: November 6 to 14, 11 am to 7 pm
At: Saffronart, Industry Manor, Prabhadevi.
Call: 24364113

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