Artistic designs from seashells

Artistic designs from seashells

A seashell statue created by Radha Mallappa

Among the many tourist attractions in Mysuru, known for its heritage structures, are museums, both private and government. One such museum is Guinness World Record Sea Shell Art Museum, a collection of the craftwork done by Radha Mallappa, who has a keen interest in handicrafts and other forms of craftwork. Radha has created numerous seashell artworks which are displayed at the museum.

Here, one can see a variety of designs made in different sizes. The model of Taj Mahal, which is around 10 feet high, is the star attraction here and it took her eight years to assemble it. The 12-foot Shiva statue is another attraction in the museum. Apart from these, there is a Ganesha which entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2016. It took Radha five and a half years to complete it and what is unique about this statue is that it is hollow inside. Other seashell models shown here include replicas of St Philomena’s Church, fish aquarium, penguins and traditional lamps. Several such small, medium and big artworks made out of seashells are on display. While some of them are hollow, others have an inner support system made out of either plywood, thermocol structures or frames.

Though she uses shells of the same colour for an artwork, sometimes seashells of different colours are also used. She sources the seashells from a few agents she has identified. Normally, she gets a supply of seashells from Rameshwaram and a few other places within India. For some artworks, mostly those that are large in size, she has sourced seashells from abroad as well. So far, Radha has made over 200 seashell structures. While many of them are displayed in galleries, some are kept in glass cases.

Apart from seashell artwork, she has also created pieces of art in ceramic, pin and thread work, patchwork and foil embossing. Furthermore, she has done various types of painting including thermocol painting and glass painting. Several of her paintings, made in the Mysore and Tanjavore styles, can also be seen here. She has exhibited some of her artworks, including those made using seashells and paintings, at various events in Mysuru and Bengaluru.

For her work, Radha has won several awards. She is satisfied that her collection draws many visitors, both domestic and foreign. Though maintaining the collection is not an easy task, she is able to continue the work with the support of her family and the interest shown by visitors.

The museum is open on all days from 9 am to 6 pm. If one wants to take photographs, a nominal amount of Rs 20 is charged. While the entry fee for adults is Rs 40, it is Rs 20 for children. This is a must-visit place for those who want to know how seashells can be turned into beautiful art installations.