SOAS University of London

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opens major new SOAS exhibition ‘Celebrating Art and Music: The SOAS Collections’

4 May 2017

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has opened a major new exhibition at SOAS University of London’s Brunei Gallery ‘Celebrating Art and Music: The SOAS Collections’ which features the School’s rich collection of paintings, manuscripts, musical instruments, sound recordings and film from fieldwork.  

HRH Princess Royal visit to SOAS Collections

Professor Anna Contadini (L) with The Princess Royal and Baroness Valerie Amos CH

The Princess Royal was greeted by Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Director of SOAS University of London and exhibition curator the Head of the School of Arts, Professor Anna Contadini. During her visit, The Princess Royal met with staff and students from the School of Arts to learn more about their work and experience of studying at SOAS.

Baroness Amos thanked HRH for attending the opening and noted it was one of five visits she has made to SOAS. It also marked 10 years since she opened the ‘Treasures of SOAS’ exhibition in 2007. Speaking at the event HRH said it was astonishing to think of the fact that SOAS was founded 100 years ago and said it reminded us of the “commonalities of the human race”.

‘Celebrating Art and Music: The SOAS Collections’ showcases the rich histories and dynamic contemporary practices of art and music in SOAS’s specialist regions and enquires into connections between tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Many of the objects will be shown to the public for the first time. A multisensory experience, the exhibition evokes the full richness of Asian, African and Middle Eastern visual and sound arts, bringing the SOAS collections to life in a new and vivid way.

HRH Princess Royal visit to SOAS Collections 2

Professor Anna Contadini provided a tour of the exhibition. The exhibit being shown above is of ink rubbings of apsaras (celestial dancers) from Cambodia from the early 1960s

Some of the exhibition highlights include; a mid-17th century picture scroll from Japan of the Procession of Korean Ambassadors; a Tibetan chant notation manuscripts; a hanging scroll loaned to SOAS on the occasion of the Dalai Lama’s visit to the School in 1977; the Kora, a calabash harp from West Africa; an album of paintings presented by the last emperor of China to Sir Reginald Johnston, the first Professor of Chinese at SOAS, as well as the life size sculptures by Sokari Douglas Camp featuring the works Jesus Loves Me and Kissss Me.

Celebrating Art and Music is accompanied by a catalogue that includes twelve essays exploring the context and significance of the diverse exhibits on display.