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Rajput  

Rajput: Sons of Kings presents 74 colourful paintings and drawings, created in the 17th to 19th centuries at the Hindu Rajput courts of north-west India. Capturing the vitality and luxurious sensuality of princely life, many of the paintings were produced at the court of Mewar (Udaipur), one of the most important and prosperous of the Rajput courts.

Drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, the exhibition presents a window into a world of elaborate processions, deer hunting, elephant fights and political intrigue, centred around the maharana (the highest of the hereditary rulers of Rajasthan). Portrayed as supreme warrior, hunter and patron of art, music and dance, the maharana was accorded the status of a god and was central to temple ceremonies and court pageantry.

The paintings vary in scale, from intimate gatherings between a maharana and his most trusted minister to formal darbar scenes attended by local and foreign dignitaries. Although this world no longer exists, the majestic aura of fairytale palaces and scenic lakes survives in these images.

The characters of the court and the landscape of Rajasthan are recorded in an informal and engaging style, combining the Rajasthani artists' brilliant colour and dynamic line with a Mughal-inspired rendering of the minutiae of life.

These dazzling works, filled with lively narrative, are grouped around several themes. One is portraiture, the painterís skill lavished on exquisite detail in the costume, jewellery and weaponry of the Rajput warrior class. Other themes include the cloistered lives of Rajput women, religious worship, romance, politics, and the divinity of the maharana.

 
RELATED EVENTS

Guided tours - 2pm daily from 14 June and 7.30pm on Wednesdays

Art After Hours - The Gallery is open every Wednesday until 9pm.
July program celebrates Rajput: Sons of Kings with:

Indian music performances in the exhibition - 6, 13, 20, 27 July, 5.30pm
Join Sardool Singh for the classical sounds of the sarod, the 25-string lute.
Free with exhibition entry. 

Free Concerts Series 6.30pm
Soul stirring and passionate music and dance from the north of India, programmed by the Classical Hindustani Music Association.
6 July Instrumental melody Rag
13 July Percussion Rhythm Tal
20 July Dance Nach
27 July Voice Gana

Film program - Wednesdays and Sundays 6 to 31 July
Exploring privilege, love and loyalty, a special series of feature films encapsulates the vitality, sensuality and romance of upper-class life in India. The program will include Bollywood blockbusters such as Devdas (2002) and the work of Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, including Charulata (1964) and The Music Room (1958).

Symposium - Saturday 2 July 10am-5pm
Featuring exhibition curator, Carol Cains; Richard Runnels, author, Indian painters - British masters: company paintings from the WR Johnston collection; Susan Scollay, eastern and historical textile specialist and Rajasthan devotee Joan Bowers sharing her Misadventures of a memsahib.

The Asian Arts Society of Australia (TAASA)
Cost $75 TAASA and AGS members, $85 non-members
Cost includes exhibition viewing.
Bookings TAASA telephone (02) 9417 2585 judithrutherford@bigpond.com

Artist in residence - Thursdays and Saturdays 1-3pm
See how the rich colours and intricate compositions of miniature paintings are created with artist Abdul Karim Rahimi.
Free with exhibition entry.

Exhibition talks - Tuesday 14 and 21 June 1pm
14 June Haema Sivanesan, independent scholar
21 June Jim Masselos, honorary reader in history, University of Sydney
22 June, 5.30pm Haema Sivanesan, independent scholar.
Free with exhibition entry.

School Holiday Workshops
Monday 4 July - Friday 8 July
Monday 11 July - Friday 15 July
Celebrating the exhibition Rajput: Sons of Kings

It's a small world
Discover a dazzling world of elephants, kings and courtly life in miniature! Be enthralled by the stories, costumes and colours and design your own artwork.
5-8 year olds 10.30am - 12 noon $20 bookings essential
9-13 year olds (Tues & Wed only) 2-4pm $25 bookings essential

Free School Holiday Performances

SANCAHARI

Monday 11 - Friday 15 July 1.30pm
A kaleidoscope of mime and rhythm, presented through the ancient Indian classical dance styles of Bharatha Natyam and Kuchipudi. Be enthralled by the colourful stories of Indian mythology and folklore. Performed by Lingalayam Dance Company

PANCHATANTRA
Sundays 10 and 17 July 2.30pm 

Once upon a time, there lived a King called Amarashakthi, a just and wise ruler greatly loved and respected by his subjects. The King however had one, great regret - his three sons were not only dull-witted but also very ignorant. So upon the advice of his ministers he sent for the great Sage Vishnusharma, who was extremely well versed in many subjects and the nitishastras - the proper conduct of life. The King entrusting his three sons to the sage requests him to educate them in the nitishastras and the ways of the world. The sage takes the princes' away to his ashram and educates them through the PANCHATANTRA stories. Pancha means five and tantra means doctrines of conduct or modes of action. These stories are related and told through animals. They are:

Mitra Bhedha
(The Loss of Friends)
Mitra Laabha (Gaining Friends)
Sandhi (Ill Considered Action)
Suhrudbheda (Causing Dissension between Friends)
Vigraha (The Loss of Gains)

Rajput: Sons of Kings

On view:8 June - 4 September 2005
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or
recorded information (02) 9225 1790
National Toll Free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am to 5pm 7 days a week
Art After Hours until 9pm every Wednesday
Admission:$6 Adults / $4 Concession
Media Information and Interviews:Claire Martin, Press Office
Telephone (02) 9225 1734 or 0414 437 588
email clairem@ag.nsw.gov.au
Images available on request

IMAGE CREDIT: Nuruddin Maharana Raj Singh ll riding an elephant 1754.(detail) Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Felton Bequest 1980.