Of Royal Descent

The blue-blooded are set to showcase traditional arts from their region.

The women of Laxmi Vilas Palace, home to the Gaekwad family in Baroda since the late 19th century, have always had one precious legacy: their reservoir of traditional chanderi sarees. In 1914, this royal fetish led to the establishment of Maharani Chimnabai Streeudyogalaya, an organisation that aims to provide livelihood to hundreds of local women weaving chanderi. Now, some of their designs will be travelling to the Capital. Selected by Radhikaraje Gaekwad, an art aficionado and erstwhile princess, these will comprise the exhibition "Royal Fables" that will feature 23 designers of royal descent, all bringing in traditional works from their region. To be held at The Imperial, the three-day exhibition, starting September 26, aims to create the "living room of the royals".

In its fourth year, the edition focuses on blue-blooded art connoisseurs who have either created or acted as patrons of traditional practises. Apart from Gaekwad, the participants include Diya Kumar of Jaipur, who will showcase block-printed textiles with minakari embroidery, and Vidita Singh of Pratapgarh, who will depict her passion for India's automotive history on her canvases. Pushpita Singh of Kherwa, Rajasthan, will bring to prominence jewellery from the state. "People don't want what was used or worn 10 years ago. We need to recreate the designs to fit modern tastes," says Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh, Rajasthan. The 28-year-old NIFT (Delhi) graduate will showcase products designed at her two-year-old Studio Kishangarh. The range will comprise "abstract yet traditional" miniature paintings and gift items, all painted with a cow, a popular motif of the area.

"The works in the exhibition are classics. I have recreated royal costumes belonging to various gharanas, and will be presenting them," says Umang Hutheesing of the Hutheesing family in Ahmedabad, who has been reviving "royal" costumes for 25 years.

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