Rajkumar Mathur, a native of Jaipur, thinks the royal exhibition will spark positive change in the Indian community.
There isn’t enough historical Indian art on display in Chicago museums, at least for those who dine and work at Near North restaurant India House. “I haven’t seen much Indian artwork,” said Ritesh Patel, whose family is from Kudrat, a city south of Rajasthan.
Patel’s wife, Deepa, said that seeing the painted clay reliefs “makes you feel at home.”
The pieces, made in Rajasthan, by themselves aren’t able to illustrate the collective history of India , Ritesh Patel said.
“I think they’re more decorative, frankly,” he said. “I would expect that some of the historical artwork would remind you of a period in India’s history; none of these do.”
A restaurant looking to create a specific ambiance often achieves that effect through art, according to interior designers.
"Art in general always enhances the environment and the mood of the restaurant; and based on its placement and strategic location, it can really have a cultural impact on the diners," said Nina Hancock, an interior designer at Hancock and Hancock in the Near North neighborhood.
"Fine art in a restaurant setting really sets the bar in terms of the caliber of the restaurant," she said.
This sort of fine art won’t only be in restaurants. Late last week in New Delhi, the Art Institute of Chicago President James Cuno announced that the museum will host a Jaipur royal art exhibition.
The exhibit, scheduled for two years from now, Cuno said, is “one of the biggest that the international community will ever see, will comprise miniatures, artifacts, sculptures, textiles and relics of the Jaipur royalty created by artists from Jaipur who were commissioned for the purpose.”
It’s the first time the Art Institute will have an exhibition dedicated solely to displaying centuries of royal art from Jaipur.
But the Indian community wants more.
“There is not enough Indian art in Chicago," said Rajkumar Mathur, native of Jaipur and head chef at India House. “The best way to see artwork is to show them off to the world.
Deepa Patel said the talented artists from Jaipur produce unique art: “To bring this exhibition is going to be great cultural diversity for Chicago.” In the meantime, people looking to experience art from India will be able to go to businesses such as India House.
“I think a lot of the Indian community would be interested to come to the art institute to see it if it were marketed and advertised the right way,” Ritesh Patel said before finishing dinner.