Güler Ates’ Eternal Maharana and She II is currently on display at Newport Primary School, Leyton as part of Ways of Seeing, a partnership between Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 and the Government Art Collection.

Eternal Maharana and She II by Güler Ates

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About the work
In this sumptuous photograph, a solitary veiled woman stands with her back to us in the elegant, yet faded interior of the City Palace Museum in Udaipur, Rajasthan in India. Begun in the 16th century, this palatial complex was built over a period of 400 years and was the seat of the ‘Maharana’ or ‘the king of kings’.

The obscured identity of the mysterious silhouette whose gender is alluded to in the title as ‘She II’, leads us to wonder about a woman’s position in a public space that was once inhabited as a private space. Admiring herself in a mirror whose reflection is concealed from us, we continue to wonder: who is she? What is her story? Where is this ethereal, infinite blue veil taking her?

This work creates a sense of timelessness by referring to a range of references including the exotic, luxuriously dressed women that appear in 19th century Orientalist paintings as well as the intimate scenes in the 17th and 18th century Dutch paintings.

Ates usually works with a model, a classical Indian dancer, who she dressed in fabrics that she sources at local markets and textile factories. For this work, she was inspired by stories told about the palace and the layers of history associated with the architecture of the place, and was given free reign to move among its elegant rooms, filled with wall paintings, mirrors, coloured glass, and rich floor coverings.

About the artist
Güler Ates (b. 1977) studied painting in Istanbul and London, where she lives today. She has travelled extensively, including to Brazil, India, Holland and Portugal where she has made and shown her art. Ates has held the position of Digital Print Tutor at the Royal Academy Schools in London since 2011.

Waltham Forest Borough of Culture 2019
This ambitious collaboration turns the borough into a gallery with 33 internationally renowned artists displayed in 28 unexpected locations. Güler Ates’ photograph is available to view on specific dates only. Please sign up to the Waltham Forest Borough of Culture 2019 newsletter or follow the social media channels to be the first to find out when you can view it.