Installation view of Thebe Magugu’s <em>Shipwreck, jacket, top and trousers, headscarf and shoes</em> on display as part of NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy

Raja Gemini

Photo: courtesy of the artist

Raja Gemini
United States born 1974

Level 1
NGV International
View on map

For this look, Raja infuses high fashion with a contemporary drag aesthetic, referencing her Balinese heritage and a traditional Balinese dance style known as Kebyar Duduk. Kebyar Duduk originated in the early twentieth century, pioneered by a musician named I Wayan Lotring, who was a member of a gamelan ensemble – a traditional Indonesian orchestra. The term kebyar means ‘to flare up’, or ‘to burst open’ in the Balinese language, and it refers to the explosive and virtuosic style of music associated with Kebyar Duduk.

A multidimensional performance artist with an unconventional approach to drag, beauty and fashion, Raja Gemini is of Indonesian and Dutch heritage and is known for infusing their work with a rich tapestry of references including high fashion, pop art and club culture. They have been working as a drag and performance artist for decades, however, their journey to fame in many ways began with a victory on the third season of the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2011, and in 2022 Raja competed and won a crown on RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, season 7. The three costumes on display highlight the intersection of fashion and performance art that has come to define their unconventional approach to drag.

Courtesy of the artist