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People of India

Puri trio
Ink and pencil / A5 paper

Nagaur bazar street
Ink and colour pencil A5 paper

Old man, Orissa village
Ink and pastel on A4 paper

Aam admi or Common man

I have taken many photos of Indian people in their environment – streets and cities, fields and villages, temples, concerts, yatras, beaches, hills, riversides, backwaters, etc.
I use the photos I like – moment, composition, light – to turn them into sketches and paintings. If it is not too hot or crowded, I can also draw quick live sketches: for instance, in Dharamshala monastery, in the famous Leopold Café in Bombay or Little Buddha in Rishikesh, some Ladakh landscapes, a night concert at the IIC Delhi.
Striking figures for me are colourful women working in the fields, an ustad musician singing, daily workers at risk on shaky scaffoldings, beggars on ghats, sanyasis on a yatra, in general faces with character that you find everywhere in India. I am most stirred by old people from rural India whom – I feel – look far more serene and beautiful than old people in the west. There seems to be a wisdom at aging in India!

Rajas and Nawabs

We Firangis (foreigners) from the west are spellbound by the maharajas, nawabs and thakurs of India. Their fascinating history, huge palaces and immense wealth captivate us. We find them formidable when they parade on an elephant, conduct a Janata durbar, go about hunting or simply pose for a royal portrait. I have had the chance of visiting many palaces and forts and meeting the royals – sometimes in reality, mostly through portraits and book photography… I have made qui a few – small, medium and large portraits – of the nawabs of Lucknow, Tipu Sultan, Serfoji II or the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Nawab of Awadh
Pencil / A4 paper

Serfoji II, king of Tanjore
Pencil / A4 paper

Nawab of Awadh
Ink & colour pencil / A5 paper

Nizam of Hyderabad
Ink and colour pencil / A5 paper

Michel Testard

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