I’m a sucker for things miniature. It has something to do with being under the illusion of control. We can look down on an entire scene and take it all in at once – a bit like Dame Folly in Netherlandish 15th Century broadsheets. There is a satisfying coherence. Miniature artist Thomas Doyle says: “In a world that grows ever more faster and chaotic, in a world in which we are bombarded with imagery, artworks in small scales allow us a place of retreat, where time has stopped.”.
Source: Gallery MOMO
So that’s why I particularly enjoyed Exceeding Return, Curtis Talwst Santiago’s first solo exhibition in Johannesburg at Momo. Constructing miniature dioramas in reclaimed ring boxes (2 very colonial metaphors), Santiago delves into his genealogy and ancestory in an exploration of personal and collective identity. As a Trinidadian-Canadian artist in Africa, he examines the relics of his past within the context of dominant mainstream narratives. So for example he has been interested in interrogating the space of leisure in South Africa, a space historically occupied by South Africa’s white population. Santiago makes dioramas of holiday activities but then subverts the traditional narrative of leisure by inserting miniature black men and women. It runs until 27th May.