After a complete restoration of all the five floors of Jal Mahal along with the Man Sagar Lake some one needed to fill colours to the shiny marble interiors. Siddhartha Das, a designer that aims to create a link between traditional craft communities and urban markets, was called upon along with many local artists and craftsmen. This combination of artists provided an amazing look to the walls of Jal Mahal. Siddhartha Das created the featuring painting – a specially commissioned 34-foot long painted mural of Jal Mahal and its surrounding landscape at the onset of the monsoon running all along the corridors of the palace.
You worked on the scenography for Jal Mahal (Water Palace) in Jaipur – tell us something about that.
Siddhartha Das: With a vision and enviable resources, an exciting array of consultants were brought together to work on the dilapidated historic pavilion of Jal Mahal. I was given the task of creating the scenography of the interior spaces, titled ‘Painted Pleasures’, and illustrate the notion of pleasure pavilions. The space celebrates the Rajput courtly arts of the 18th century. The curators selected the main exhibit and the text around which I visualized the space and conceived about 40 artworks while collaborating with about 30 traditional miniature painters and crafts people. Over a period of about 14 months I painstakingly conceived art that was reminiscent of historic Jaipur, creating miniature paintings, murals, brass work, glass melon-shaped lamps, mirror-work, all handmade and bespoke. Having largely worked on rather a somber sphere of work that dealt with public spaces, it was delight to work on an indulgent project as an aberration. This has led me to a whole spate of projects that blend design with art, craft and architecture.
as told to Pool Magazine
Jal Mahal Restoration – Paintings on the walls by local artisans
The walls of Jal Mahal are a dazzing exhibition that brings together Jaipur’s leading artists and crafts persons for the first time. Its a colorful, exciting multimedia event which engages all the senses on a journey where past and present meet in a dynamic celebration of Rajasthan’s artistic traditions, as seen through centuries of royal patronage.
Jal Mahal Restoration – Fine Stonework, Intricate Woodwork, Elaborate Mirrorwork by Local Craftsmen
The newly restored Jal Mahal truly lives up to its character, that of being a pleasure palace. The restoration process involved experts and artisans from across the globe and the state. The project has given a boost to traditional art and craftsmen, celebrating the rich cultural traditions of the region. It also showcases art forms like miniatures paintings, frescoes and crafts of different parts of the state which were not a part of the ‘original’ Jal Mahal, yet strings together pieces of history that someone keen on knowing Rajasthan itself would not want to miss.