Maharani Gayatri Devi: Abiding Symbol of a Bygone Age

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Maharani Gayatri Devi: The Icon who redefined Indian fashion, Masala!, May 25, 2022. 

Maharani Gayatri Devi: Abiding Symbol of a Bygone Age

The Arts of India Zoom Series

Born into privilege in 1919, Maharani Kumari Gayatri Devi lived a charmed and extraordinary life that spanned the radical social and political changes of 20th century India. Renowned for her beauty from babyhood, she married the Maharaja of Jaipur for love as his third wife. The position of women in Indian society, hidebound by tradition for centuries, changed dramatically in the 20th century, including the way they dressed. Gayatri Devi’s life paralleled this evolution in both reflecting and courteously challenging the traditions inherent in Rajput royalty, embracing and modelling the freedoms that her position and contemporaneity made possible, in the clothes she wore and the social changes she was committed to. As Maharani of Jaipur, Gayatri Devi brought the women of Jaipur out of purdah and founded a school for girls. She became an Indian fashion icon and a member of parliament, and she suffered great tragedy with dignity and characteristic grace.

Christina Sumner OAM was principal curator design and society at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, where she worked with the decorative arts and design collections for 28 years. Her research interests span the traditional textiles and cultures of India, Central Asia and Southeast Asia and she has curated exhibitions and written and lectured widely on the arts of the Asian region.

View the entire series here.


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6 May
5:30 pm - 6:00 pm AEST
$15.00 – $85.00
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