People often ask us: what’s the best kind of art for people to look at slowly? And before we answer, they often offer what they think must be true – i.e., that only *large* scale art can maintain the attention of slow lookers. Our answer, however, (based on experience) has been that everything works *including* small-scale art.
We are glad to say that The Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Canada proved once again that tiny art captivates.
For their fourth Slow Art Day, The Gardiner featured Montreal-based self-taught artist Karine Giboulo’s “immersive reimagining” of her home, with over 500 *miniature* polymer clay figures arranged throughout the tiny rooms. The small figures are intended to invite viewers to reflect on societal challenges, such as connectedness and isolation during the recent pandemic, the impact of aging, the climate crisis, food insecurity, housing instability, and consumerism. And they are indeed captivating.
On Slow Art Day itself, participants were given a worksheet with questions that lead them through the process of slow looking, and included a space to sketch. They were then encouraged to speak with two members of the Gardiner Museum team: Sofia Flores-Ledesma, Programs and Education Assistant, and Emma Wan, Victoria College, Material Culture Intern.
We invite you to discover the power of slow looking at miniature art by downloading their worksheet below, then lazily gazing at the images from their exhibition that follow (and maybe trying a few sketches).
Sofia Flores-Ledesma wrote to us and said that not only did the miniatures dazzle, but that the conversations on the day of the event were so engaging that they did not take any photos as planned. They were just too busy listening to the captivated participants talk about their experience.
Every year, The Gardiner does something interesting for Slow Art Day, and we love what they did for 2023: i.e, featuring Giboulo’s miniature scenes of ordinary life, which offer hidden surprises (this is another pitch for you to download their worksheet and do some slow looking yourself).
We can’t wait to see what the Gardiner Museum comes up with for Slow Art Day 2024.
-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl.