Art has been integral to a life lived in a palace. Art does remain a strong bastion for scions of Princely India. Director of Art Alive Gallery, Sunaina Anand says, “The scions of Imperial India grew up surrounded by history. They possess iconic art and craft. It’s hence not tough for those born with a zen for aesthetics to be converted into sterling artists and photographers themselves.” Thus, artists of royal lineage are making an attempt to revive the styles of yore while bringing in a delightful modern twist.
Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh, a trained designer from the National Institute of Fashion Technology who brings in a sense of colour, modernity and humour to the forgotten art of pichwai. She set up Studio Kishangarh with the aim to revive and modernise her state’s signature miniature style. Custodian of this art, Princess Vaishnavi, privy to an urban upbringing, hand picks elements of the lotus, the cow, the Bani Thani and the very reverent Radha-Krishna, recreating these in a pop and modern context.
Be it wild creatures caught in their natural habitat or horses in their full glory on the polo ground, animals have been a strong subject for their creative outpourings. Painting them in near real style is Apji Vikramadtiya Singh of Palaitha who paints the lioness with her cubs, bison and owl almost as if they had posed for him in the wilderness. His charcoal sketches are so real that they can be mistaken for photographs.
Kanwarani Padmini Singh of Chhota Udaipur grew up watching her father paint. Perhaps she was born with this talent to draw and sketch wildlife. Influenced by trips to wildlife sanctuaries, her works depict nature in its purest form. She paints wildlife with a hope that one learns to love animals enough to preserve forest reserves.
Yuvraj Vikramadtiya Singh of Jammu and Kashmir presents his Himalayan state in all its natural splendour. There is a sense of silence, a celebration of rich textures and a depth of form that comes to life in his frames. Driving through Kashmir and Palampur, he often pauses to capture sunsets on the valley, an evening at a monastery or the many layered Himalayas that run through J&K. His landscape photography is thus like art caught on camera.
Princess Krishna Kumari of Panna has taken to a new art form that is not known in India. She discovered that painting on porcelain was her true love. Being a wildlife photographer, she started to change her photographs into this form of art on porcelain.
Rajkumari Vidita Singh of Barwani grew up surrounded by vintage cars. She has seen her father, Maharana Saheb Manvendra Singh of Barwani, curator of the Cartier Concours d’Elegance, restore some of the finest vintage cars. Thus, she has successfully portrayed a realistic picture of the automobile heritage of India.