UK-based designer Slinkachu has installed miniature people along the streets of Dubai’s City Walk.
An extension of ongoing ‘little people project’ — which sees the remodeling and painting of miniature model train set characters — the installations draw from cultural themes and motifs found the area.
They are placed, photographed and left on the street and the tiny cast of characters forms quirky scenes on the street. A small pile of sand is seemingly the backdrop for an epic desert landscape lined with a caravan of camels.
Meanwhile lit matches become the firewood for a flaming campsite; and a toy yacht sinks into a glossy street surface below.
“I’ve always been interested in small things”, says Slinkachum whose work is part of the Dubai Walls initiative. “My dad made me a train set when I was younger but I was never really interested in the trains, it was always the figures, houses and trees that fascinated me.”
The artist, born Stuart Pantoll, has spent the last six years shooting his miniature tableaux on the streets of London, before going global. Funny and touching, fantastical and unsettling, they put urban life under the microscope.
A book mow features further-flung adventures. Paddy-field workers toil in the pools of a manhole cover in Beijing; a couple embrace in the snow beneath a giant (life-sized) CCTV camera in Moscow.
“I wanted to go to places that on paper were very different,” he says. “But when you get down to street level, 2cm off the ground, you could be anywhere.”
Slinkachu began his series of Little People in 2006, as respite from his day job in advertising. Now his photographs sell for up to £6,500. “I didn’t expect people to empathise with the characters so much. We have an innate pull to look after small things – kids, dogs, hamsters… People project their own feelings on to them.
“The photography aims to reflect the loneliness and melancholy of living in a big city, almost being lost and overwhelmed, but underneath this, there is always some humour. I want people to be able to empathise with the tiny people in my works.”