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Untitled (Married woman from the Anamalai hills, Kadar)Jacqueline Ayerc. 1973

Jacqueline Ayer (1930–2012) had a career that spanned many creative fields. She began as a fashion illustrator, and later turned her hand to children’s books, textiles and garments, as she worked in New York, Paris, London, Bangkok, Hong Kong and across India.

This drawing was used as one of the final illustrations printed in Ayer's publication Oriental* Costume (1974).

*The term ‘oriental’ has colonial and racist origins. It was established during a period when European powers took political control of other countries and defined non-European cultures as ‘inferior’ to their own. ‘Oriental’ was commonly used in English-speaking countries until the late 20th century to group together people, culture and places in Northern Africa, East Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as objects thought to have originated in these areas. The term has been widely rejected today as it exoticizes and ‘others’ these diverse cultures. Ayer used the term here to collectively refer to modes of dress from Cambodia, China, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet.