New Delhi – March 13, 2019 – U.S. Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster led a celebration of Indian artistic style with a reception in the newly refurbished formal dining room at the Ambassador’s residence. Today, floor-to-ceiling designs reflect centuries of rich cultural traditions interpreted through the skillful hand of an American artist.
“When I first visited India in 1992, I spent time visiting villages where the courtyards and walls featured beautiful designs,” said American artist Karen Lukas. “I wanted to bridge our cultures to create something unique for the embassy.”
Twenty three years ago, Lukas received a commission for her Rajasthan-inspired designs from the U.S. Department of State and spent three months hand-painting the dining room at Roosevelt House with blue indigo using stencils to guide her work. With the passage of time, the room returned to blank slate, but the memory of the intricate designs remained vivid for Ambassador Juster who saw the ornate dining room Lukas created when he visited India in 2001.
“The building is a modern structure. The façade has motifs similar to architecture you see throughout India. I felt it was important to infuse American and Indian art in the interior of Roosevelt House,” said Ambassador Juster. Roosevelt House is the name given to the Ambassador’s Residence which was designed by master architect Edward Durell Stone, who captured history and fantasy in a memorable symbol of the United States’ commitment to India after its independence.
The original stencils Lukas created years ago had disappeared, but she re-created a design inspired by the traditional artworks that impressed her during her first trip to India. This time around, innovative techniques utilizing computer graphics allowed her unique design to be replicated on canvas. Craftsmen from New York-based EverGreene Architectural Arts printed her designs and completed the installation in New Delhi. The project took three months to complete at a cost of USD$65,000.
“We were very fortunate to get backing from three organizations – the American Chamber of Commerce in India, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and the U.S. India Business Council,” said Ambassador Juster.
Follow this link to see the final installation of the Blue Room at Roosevelt House:
The Roosevelt House has served as the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to India since 1961. The Fund to Conserve United States Diplomatic Treasures Abroad provided coordination for the project.
The Fund to Conserve U.S. Diplomatic Treasures Abroad is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising private, corporate, and foundation support for the stewardship of the U.S. Department of State’s significant overseas buildings and its collections of fine and decorative arts.
Marcia Mayo, Executive Director
Fund to Conserve
U.S. Embassy, New Delhi
Greg Porter, Public Affairs