MinNature creates huge impact with tiny dioramas

MinNature Malaysia recreates the grand landmarks of Malaysia, as well as the more small-scale and intimate scenes that make up everyday life in this country.


Personal confession: this writer has always been fascinated by miniatures and dioramas. The artistry and detail that goes into small-scale recreations of large things have always been a testament to the creativity and patience of the artist. While dioramas of warzones and natural landscapes are a common sight on the Internet, MinNature offers something unique: dioramas and miniature recreations of Malaysian locations, people, food and paraphernalia.

According to Wan Cheng Huat, one of the miniature modellers, most of the miniatures were made using various materials, ranging from clay to quartz to 3D-printed nylon. Resin and white glue were also used to create water effects, whether it be muddy rivers or the puddles beside a streetside Satay stand.

Upon entering MinNature, you are greeted by a series of miniatures recreating food stalls and dining tables commonly seen throughout Malaysia. For example, kuih and satay roadside stands, a wooden table laden with dim sum, or a table with offerings prepared for the Hokkien community’s Pai Ti Kong festival. These are perhaps the most detailed and intricate miniatures in the entire museum, accurately capturing the mouthwatering beauty and sheer variety inherent in Malaysian food. From the crispy texture of the fried meats to the swirls in the lumpy curry, everything was recreated masterfully In fact, they looked so good that we felt hungry just looking at them. Perhaps it is a testament to the Malaysian love of food that so much effort and focus were placed on these exhibits.

The next section expands its focus to larger diorama scenes such as an archetypal kampung, a fishing village, and a cave diorama where bird’s nest is being harvested, among others. The highlight for this writer was the city scene depicting a street featuring a Chinese opera performance next to a brightly lit warung, flanked by a barber shop and a kedai runcit. Down the street was a lantern maker’s shop. People, motorcycles and cars travel up and down the street. Every detail was impeccable, even down to the interior decoration of a first-floor shoplot, glimpsed through a small window, or the “lori sewa” flyers stuck to the warung walls illegally. Overall, it captured the feeling of calm that one feels when walking down a bustling Kuala Lumpur street at night, enveloped in gentle light and the sounds of the city.

It seems that the deeper you venture into MinNature, the bigger the dioramas become. The next part of the museum zooms far out, recreating the city skylines and famous monuments of Malaysia. The Dataran Merdeka and its surrounding buildings were recreated in detail, as were the heights of Batu Caves and Cameron Highlands. All in all, over 100 heritage and iconic buildings can be found here, seamlessly connecting most of the Malaysian states. As you walk through this section, you may feel like you are towering over the entire country like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver. One thing to note to manage your expectations: due to the much larger scale of these dioramas, they are not quite as detailed as the ones found in the previous sections. However, Wan says that they are constantly innovating and improving these dioramas to make them even better.

There are electronic elements in this part of the museum that can be activated by visitors, causing model trains to start to make their way around the dioramas, or little things like a tiny cyclist pedalling furiously around the landmark, or even two minuscule children enjoying a see-saw. For the children, the MinNature team has even included a fun activity to do here: they’ve hidden many pop-culture characters such as Spider-Man and Darth Vader throughout the exhibit for inquisitive eyes to find. There’s even a fun challenge, where if you find the elusive Green Bandit, you win a cash prize!

BASKL would definitely recommend visiting MinNature and seeing the exhibits for yourself. It quite accurately captures the essence of Malaysia in miniature form. You might even learn something about the landmarks of other states!

MinNature is located in Sungei Wang Plaza (JUMPA Annex), Lot No. MUF-1, Level 1, Green Zone, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250, KL. Follow their Facebook and Instagram to keep up with coming attractions!

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