The British Council’s “India/UK Together Season of Culture” includes an art installation that is also on display as part of the exhibition. A new exhibition, “Vaccines: Injecting Hope,” which opened on November 15 at the National Science Center in Delhi, embodies the convergence of art, scientific accomplishment, and compelling storytelling. This educational exhibit shows the work, vigor, and enormous effort that went into creating a vaccine against Covid and how India and the UK addressed one of the greatest collective challenges.
It offers a glimpse into what two years of the pandemic meant for the scientific community. “Knowing Science is not enough, Science has to reach people through Art,” stated Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) at the inauguration. The British Council’s “India/UK Together Season of Culture” includes an art installation that is also on display as part of the exhibition. The exhibition’s theme was inspired by a Thomas Hickey painting from the 19th century called “3 Princesses of Mysore,” which was shown in royal households to encourage smallpox inoculation.
“This early example of public messaging through art, where one princess draws your attention to her arm, connects us from the past to the future,” stated Scott McDonald, Chief Executive British Council. “All of us need a healthy dose of hope to inoculate ourselves during tough times,” during his inaugural speech, he added.
Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs, and Mugdha Sinha, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, represented the government at the inaugural event, which was also attended by numerous National Council of Science Museum of India officials, representatives of the British Council, and members of the Science Museum Group. There was also the Maharaja of Mysore in attendance.
In the gallery, along with other vials that were used to test and store the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, is even the actual container in which the first sample of Covid was brought from Kerala for testing. Award-winning Indian researcher Pragya Yadav, who oversaw the SARS-CoV-2 team at the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), stated to The Print, “The vaccine was a hope and a tool that not only saved lives but engaged people in biological science. This simplistic illustration will really help children and students understand the journey of India’s vaccine.”
“I do still advise one to wash their hands and wear masks in large crowds,” she added to ensure that citizens still practiced caution. “Vaccines are something that were not on top of people’s minds or gained a lot of investment before the pandemic hit us. And earlier there were these people working quietly, after which there came a sudden panic as people started demanding vaccines. Not only were all these scientists rediscovered, but they also did it in record time,” director and Chief Executive Officer of the Science Museum Group, Sir Ian Blatchford, told The Print.