Vintage Love - Maharajkumari Vidita Singh Barwani,talks with You & I

She has an enchanting aura that her quiet demeanour only enhances. Vidita is what one would envision a modern royal lady to be: extremely private, supremely talented, beautifully dressed in classics, and, most importantly, polite to a fault. Born into the royal family of Barwani, Vidita was brought up in a family of automotive enthusiasts. After being surrounded in her childhood by some of India’s best vintage and classic cars, it’s not surprising that Vidita Singh is the country’s leading automotive artist, whose works are truly one of a kind.

Tell us something about yourself.
I am an automotive artist belonging to the royal family of Barwani, an erstwhile royal state in central India. Fortunately, I have been able to turn my passion into my profession.

What is it like being a royal in modern India?
It’s a balancing act between the upkeep of old traditions, and adapting to modern sensibilities. For royals to flourish in modern times, we have to master this balancing act.

What’s the most interesting part about being a royal?
For me the most interesting part has been the exposure to a value system and a refinement that is instilled in you at childhood. It allows you to stand your ground as you face the realities of life.
Being a royal gives you a pedestal to help those in need. For instance, I had an opportunity to join hands with other royals around the world through an organisation called Royal Bridges.Through this initiative, we had the chance to aid the UN World Food Programme by auctioning our artwork for charity.

Your paintings are absolutely one of a kind and truly breathtaking. You’re also one of the first automotive artists in India. How did your interest in this genre come about?
Thank you for your kind appreciation. Yes, I am one of the first automotive artists in India. From a very early age, I was exposed to beautiful cars as well as the stories attached to them. This has helped me bring to life these fabulous cars in elements that are uniquely Indian, and to portray this beautiful country with its rich automotive history.

Where do you draw inspiration?
I am usually inspired by the design elements of the cars, and by stories of these cars from the bygone era. There is quite a bit of nostalgia attached to my paintings. I started out by documenting historical aspects of Indian motor history; I wanted to bring out the beauty of our country and the cars as they would have been in their heyday. I have diversified into painting very exotic cars especially designed for the Maharajas. But my biggest inspiration is my father, whose passion for automobiles has always stirred me.

Are you a car lover too, or do you just enjoy painting them? What are your favourite cars?
For me, automobiles have a soul, and I try my best to bring that out in my artwork. The lines and curves of the cars are core to the painting, and they help shape the surroundings they are represented in. I have many favourite cars – many from the 1930s and 1950s – like the Bentley, Cadillac, Duesenberg, etc. But the one I cherish the most is the 1955 Ford Thunderbird.

What’s the one piece of wisdom you wish you knew earlier?
I wish I knew to never take life for granted, to live every moment and take positive actions. This wisdom would have helped in the challenges I faced earlier in my life. But it’s truly helping me now. It’s also never too late to learn. We should keep learning something consistently.

What does style mean to you?
Style is the innate way you conduct yourself. You are considered stylish if you wear anything with confidence and are happy in it.
I like classic styles like a nice white shirt paired with well-fitted beige trousers. I would add a statement accessory to give it an extra edge. I love sarees, especially chiffon sarees; they’re truly elegant. I like wearing bold colours, and I’m very fond of the Art Deco style of jewellery.       – as told to Suneela