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DIVA official exhibition book (hardback)


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The official exhibition book accompanying the V&A South Kensington show.


Delving into the personas of performers from Sarah Bernhardt to Rihanna, this book looks at what it has meant to be a diva, and what unites and defines these unique artists.


From the Latin for 'deity' or 'goddess', our concept of what a 'diva' might be - or should be - has evolved in richness and complexity. Opening with 19th-century opera stars and 20th-century silent-screen sirens, it then focuses on different aspects of divadom: from Hollywood icons such as Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis cultivating their image, to the activism of artists such as Billie Holiday and Miriam Makeba; from the acumen shown by Dolly Parton and Beyonce, to the development of radical new musical identities by Madonna, Missy Elliot and Lady Gaga; from new ways of performing gender and sexuality by Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones, to the tensions between public and private experience by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Liza Minnelli.



"…a glorification of female power, and, ultimately, an exquisite reminder of the many shapes of fame and their effects on society."

- Cindy Marcolina, Broadway World, 04 Aug 2023



Kate Bailey




29cm x 23cm



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About the exhibition


DIVA celebrates the power and creativity of iconic performers, exploring and redefining the role of 'diva' and how this has been subverted or embraced over time across opera, stage, popular music, and film.

Shop the DIVA exhibition range here >