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Maharaja at the Art Gallery of Ontario

February 22, 2011

I finally made it to the AGO Maharaja exhibit, which was well worth the line and the crowds.  It was a wonderful exhibit with all kinds of paintings, sculptures, real-life items like weapons and fashion, from the long history of Maharajas – or kings – in India.  And since it was a Sunday, there was live sitar music and a dance performance, which really added to the ambiance.

My favorite item was probably the painting of a king weighing himself on a giant scale in order to give away his weight in gold to charity.  Another highlight was the Mysore scroll, a long painting that must have been at least 20 feet long with incredibly detailed depictions of a Maharaja’s procession through the crowds.  You can explore the Mysore Scroll here.

We’ve written here before about the Maharaja exhibit, and have covered Piali’s great blogging about the exhibit’s advisory board and AGO efforts to engage the desi community.

On a side note, there were a lot of items on sale from South Asia, and many were quite pricey (especially compared to getting them in India).  I wish that at least some of the items were sourced from fair trade artisans.  That of course returns us to the question of whether fair trade is philanthropy at all?  Do you think it matters if the proceeds of the sale benefit the museum in any case?



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