Fuller Minds

Minds that are not always empty

Birla Modern Art Gallery & Science Museum

Museums and art galleries are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Even if I did know this fact, it became painfully clear while I was at the Birla Modern Art Gallery, Hyderabad. People were just walking by the paintings like they were walking in the park. Not bothering to look at the finer details of the paintings, the artist name or the title of the paintings.

While I don’t claim to know art all that well, I made an attempt to understand what the artists were trying to convey through their paintings. It was most disappointing thing to see how this place was under appreciated and 75% of the time these halls were empty.

My personal favorite pieces from this collection are 1. Painting of three beautiful Nizam women and 2. A life size bronze sculpture of a serving girl. Beautiful thing about this sculpture is her eyes follow you around in the room. At that point in time, I was the only one in that hall and I was scared beyond my wits! With goosebumps adding to the eerie effect. But to create a bronze sculpture with effects like these back in 18th century was a marvel! Beautiful in a scary way!

Some of the excavated idols were displayed in the lawns of the property and along the way to science museum.

Birla Science Museum

This museum has four levels:

Ground level of the museum is scattered with a bunch of science projects/experiments. Pre-teens, teens and science geeks will be attracted to these projects. This level also has the oldest camera taking up an entire room on display, they also have first three generation computers on display. It was fascinating to watch big machines taking up so much space as computers versus the laptops we are using these days. Some optical experiments including concave and convex mirrors were fun. I was getting dizzy after watching few experiments, so skipped the rest.

Basement level is dedicated to the archaeological art. Some of the sculptures are too old and their forms were harder to decipher. The entrance to section was literally like a cave! I refused to enter it alone at first when the security guard showed me the entrance 😂. Then he helped me see the halls just beyond the entrance and the people walking about. This level had some more excavated idols on display – some in impeccable condition and others in unrecognizable condition.

The white marble art collection was like feast to the eye! The intricate designs of idols and the fine details on each piece was beautiful! And the black granite gopuram and dwaram – the precision with which they were sculpted. I have no words to describe how beautiful it was to watch them!

This level also has a collection of rare Chinese vases – huge vases!, Plaster of Paris sculptures, collection of perfume bottles in all shapes and sizes from 18th century, Thala Patralu in Sankrit transcripts, Porcelain figures collection from England. This last part is literally a doll collection and not everybody’s cup of tea. I have seen a bunch of young men running out of this section like their hair was on fire 😂. I suppose it wont hurt to appreciate art in the form of tiny doll figurines. They were beautiful set of dolls – calling to the little girl inside me😄. The museum had a strict no photographs policy. Otherwise, I would have taken thousands of pictures of these beautiful art!

The second level had a re-created model of submerged Dwaraka and model of Antarctica with tiny penguins! The rarest collection of pashmina carpets with the beautiful designs were a sight!

And the last floor is dedicated to Dinosaurium. They have skeleton of a dinosaurs on display along with other fossils and remains of dinosaurs. By the time I reached this floor (3 hours later) I had very little energy and patience to read the history and other material on display. I became the park walker by this time I was complaining about at the beginning of this article😅. Since other people were taking pictures with the skeleton – I thought I would need one too. 😄

It had been an educational tour for me. If only I had carried snacks to keep up my energy, I would have done justice to the last floor with Dinosaurs.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Art galleries and Museums are not for everyone. But if you do want to brave them – go prepared to spare at least few seconds per painting and art to appreciate them.

Saudhamini Mylaram

HR by profession. Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do apart from gardening, cooking and driving.

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