QUEEN MOTHER OF BHUTAN’S VISIT TO THE NGA Meredith Hinchliffe – TAASA Review March 2015


This article was originally found in the March 2015 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 24, Issue 1, Page 27).

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H er Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, has two big passions: the creation and display of traditional Bhutanese textiles and the welfare of women in Bhutan. In 2005 Her Majesty established the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan as an educational centre for training individuals in the traditional art of weaving to preserve and promote the culture of Bhutan and she is the Patron of the National Textile Museum. In 2004 she established RENEW – Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women – a non-governmental organisation dedicated to empowerment of women and girls in Bhutan, especially the victims and survivors of domestic violence. The Australian Himalayan Foundation, which supports RENEW, brought the Queen Mother to Australia in October 2014.

It was a perfect opportunity to promote Bhutanese textiles. At a function at the National Gallery of Australia, Her Majesty donated a Kira – the fulllength garment worn by women – to mark her visit.

A display of items from the NGA collection was arranged and guests could compare these with the items Her Majesty had brought with her to promote the nation’s culture. The donated Kira was woven specifically for the Queen Mother’s tour to Australia and was one of several she brought with her...