Not just a mere hobby, but a passion for collectables got this 75-year-old from Vizag to transform her home into a place for art. From age-old brass dishes to posh porcelain artefacts, she boasts of a collection of lakhs of artefacts. Travelling the world from a young age, the lady who owns an art museum-kind house in Vizag has many stories to tell. Unaware of its purpose, she kept on collecting interesting art pieces from every place she visited and today houses a bank of antiques that define her true happiness. Swarna Latha, an ardent believer in the concept of preserving every small thing, is a proud owner of her hard work.
Her travel journey began when she was married to an army officer at the age of 18. A nomad for most of her initial years, the wise lady has also escaped the bombings of the India-Pakistan war in 1965 when they resided in Gujarat. This is the place where she first began gathering brass articles as a hobby. Her journey that began here took her to many places across India like Jabalpur, Ahmedabad, Kochin, and Shilong and international destinations like Japan, Nepal, United Kingdom, Europe, USA, Poland, Spain, and Rome. A mother of 3 and a person of inquisitive character did not give up on her passion even when she had to shift base to Visakhapatnam for the sake of her children’s education.
A hobby that turned into a passion
When asked about why she picked up this hobby, Swarna Latha said, “They caught my attention. I never initially thought I will collect so many antiques. It was just a habit that turned into a hobby and is now my passion. I take immense pride in my collection. I would like to inspire people to pick this is up and create small places of art just like mine.”
Representing a collection worth an art museum from various countries within a 3BHK apartment in Vizag, the enthusiastic hobbyist remembers the purchase history behind every single item she owns. From age-old clay pots, century-old cooking vessels from Nepal, Japanese dolls, perfumes from across the world, toys of every kind, artefacts from every country and city she visited to even collecting corals, this artefact collector’s unique interest has no end.
This interest in collectables runs in the family as her husband was an ardent stamp collector, who owned the stamps of every country in the world. Her daughter and younger son too, show interest in collecting coins and matchboxes from other countries. Praising her late husband, Latha said, “Everything I have today is because of him. It’s his interest in travel that took me on this journey. His support and passion drive me towards my passion.”
A born artist, a down to earth human being
Latha is also a passionate gardener and a crochet artist. As a pass time hobby, she picks up the yarn and starts crocheting clothes for all her grandkids. She claims to have learnt the art of crochet with the help of books and a few neighbours. A person who doesn’t know the meaning of waste has not disposed of any of her medicine bottles to date and uses them to grow beautiful indoor plants. She has never backed out from trying her hand at different art forms. From copper wire art to making portraits with embroidery technique she has done it all. Completely unique and based on her imagination, the born artist must be cherished for her achievements.
Despite having closely seen and experienced multiple cultures of the world, Latha says, ” Our Indian culture is the best. The outside life is not something we can adapt to.” Not bothered by society, she has also worked at the Gujarat University campus canteen in Arizona. “I worked for 5 years and then quit. I simply wanted to do it and gave it a try. I served food to all the hungry people. The chefs there also taught me how to make the McDonald’s burger in order to replace any absentees.”
As the Yo! Vizag team took a stroll through her house, we had a chance to witness all her collectables. From gemstones to silverware, brass and copper collection, precious corals, porcelain plates and mugs, antique mirrors, dolls, key chains, coins, kitchen miniatures and many more antiques took our breath away. It was inspiring how a single person could have a house full of collectables and maintain this art museum in Vizag for so many years. When asked about the future of all her collectables, Latha with a giggle said, “Until I am there they are safe. After me whoever is that lucky person will own all of my legacies.” She also added that she did not expect her kids to come and take care of these collectables as they had their own responsibilities.
On a closing note, Latha encouraged people to pick up this hobby and also said that she is open to teaching crochet, and other art forms to those who are interested.
If you are someone who loves antiques and are passionate about collectables, let us know in the comment below.