HYDERABAD: While travelling, one’s itinerary is often challenged by the limited time available at one’s disposal. Many a time, I face a situation where I have to judiciously divide my time between various equally tempting choices to get the best out of my visit. I always find museums to be the right source to know about native culture.
In one go we can learn all about the place, people, their living etc. Markets are another such place. While museums reflect the past, buzzing markets mirror the vibrancy of the present. Both are equally entertaining and educative.
While on a visit to Seattle (Washington State) in the US, I found myself looking at beautiful pieces of sculpture and artefacts from my own country, India.
I did not expect to find Indian and Chinese art in a museum that is on the other side of the globe. It came as a pleasant surprise, to find many visitors keenly looking at the exhibits, reading the information and appreciating an alien art. But art has no language or regional barriers.
It happened like this: one evening in Seattle, I entered the Volunteer Park. It is a beautiful park that is nurtured by the citizens and cared for by the society and enjoyed by the general public and tourists.
Almost a hundred years old, it is the Seattle citizens’ labour of love. Nestled in the beautiful Capitol Hill area, Volunteer Park is so named to honour the volunteers who served in the Spanish-American War.
Spread over 45 acres, the park abounds with huge trees, water bodies, and rare plants. Ideal place to take long walks with dogs or just bask in the warm sun, this park is popular among residents and tourists. After a good stroll in the park, my eyes fell on the adjacent imposing building.
Volunteer Park also accommodates the Seattle Asian Art Museum called SAAM, which has a good collection of impressive art from India and China.
It is housed in a historic Art Deco building. Founded in 1933 by Richard E. Fuller, a collector of Asian art, the museum attracts mainly people who come for a stroll in the park and their curiosity leads them into the museum. Of course, it also attracts those who are serious about art.
Let’s take a walk around the museum. One needn’t understand intricacies of art, beauty needs no explanation! The museum will close temporarily in spring 2017 for renovation and expansion works.
(The author is a documentary filmmaker and travel writer; blogs at ww.vijayaprataptravelandbeyond.com)