Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) has today launched a new gallery “Faith in Birmingham”, providing unique insight into Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism.

Sultanganj Buddha; 1885A116;
One of the items on display is the 10th Century Sultanganj Budda statue, the largest known complete copper Buddha statue from this time

BMAG in Birmingham, which describes itself as a “world class museum”, is showcasing 11th Century Ganesh and Vishnu statues from Bihar, an 11th Century Shiva Lingam from eastern India, 13th Century Nandi statue from Mysore, and various other Hindu artifacts. The museum is expecting a large number of visitors and has put in place a queuing system to ensure fair access for all.

Commending Birmingham Museums for the launch of this new multi-faith gallery; Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said:

“We hope that gallery helps promote interfaith harmony and unity, creates a culture of love and peace, encouraging inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, and building better relationships among people of diverse beliefs in Birmingham and beyond.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that this opening-up of the Birmingham residents and surrounding communities to major world religions would make them more enlightened and tolerant citizens.

Birmingham is one of the most diverse cities in Europe. According to the 2011 census, just over 70% of the city’s population indicated an adherence to a religion. The faiths that are represented in the city include some that are lesser known, such as Baha’ism, Jainism and Rastafari to name but a few. In its first year the gallery will focus on the six faiths with the largest representation locally; however objects will change over the forthcoming two years to incorporate other religions present in the region.

BMAG, launched in 1885, was traditionally known primarily for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings and has over 40 main galleries. The group of museums currently curates around 800,000 objects, displayed/stored in its nine venues, attracting over one million visitors annually. Previously in November 2015, Birmingham Museums held a Rangoli (traditional Hindu art form) Exhibition which featured a 19-20th century carved wood figure of Kurma, second avatar of Lord Vishnu, in its collections.