Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Royal Visit

 Sam in front of one of the Maharaja posters
that decorate Walker Hall at the AGO

Today we took Sam to see the Maharaja exhibition
at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).  It's a fantastic
show that's come from the Victoria and Albert Museum
in London, England, and no expense has been spared
in mounting it.

On Sunday we had Christmas dinner
with my husband's side of the family (a big one -- he
comes from a family of seven children) in Stratford,
Ontario.  The town has seen some deep snowfalls, and
it is always picturesque, but looked like a Christmas
card as we drove through. During the evening I had a long
talk with my mother-in-law.  A few years ago she showed
us a picture of her great grandmother who was a Maharani
in Indonesia. She was the second wife of a Maharaja, but in
the audio information I listened to today at the AGO,
I discovered that that would not have meant she
had no power.  Her daughter married my mother-in-law's
grandfather.  So he married an Indonesian princess.
And my husband, and children are descendants of the
the Maharaja and Maharani.  In other words descendants
of a king and queen.  This is rarely discussed in the
family.  I only heard about it a few years back, and
Steven and I have been together quite awhile.

I think the reason is that the princess married a Dutch
man, and converted to Catholicism, so the whole
emphasis was on being Dutch.  Not sure.  But looking
at the beautiful detailed artwork and treasures of the
Indian Maharajas today, I felt sorry for the loss of that
culture in our family.

Have a getting-in-touch-with-your-past day.


Prabha Narayanan Art said...

That B&W is huge in scale! I know two people who are royal descendants too, but there isnt much of their rich past to see or know, which is very sad.

Liza Hirst said...

Such an interesting story, Barbara!
Amazing to realize (again) how the population of our world is constantly transformed through migration and thus is so colourful and rich!
I would love to be able to visit that exhibition.
Have a wonderful New Year, my friend!

Linda Popple said...

Loved reading your story. What a wonderful find about your family. It would be fun to explore further.

Happy New Year!

Melinda said...

What a great story about family history! I love hearing about genealogy. and you have an incredible and memorable history.

If I weren't an artist, I'd be a genealogist, precisely because of these exciting and interesting discoveries.

Great photo too!

Nicki said...

Family history is so fascinating and this is such a wonderful glimpse into yours.

May 2011 be another great adventure in your artistic journey.

XO Nicki

Portrait Artist

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