These three miniature pieces by Curtis Santiago are “diora- mas”, in other words, scenes represented in a three dimen- sional space. Dioramas were very popular in France in the 19th century. Their use was widespread, often for peda- gogical purposes, in natural history museums for example, but they can also be used for artistic purposes.
Curtis Santiago’s dioramas present miniature scenes in which he evokes contemporary problems encountered in his daily life: racism, police vio- lence, migration and his Carib- bean origins.
But these miniature dioramas, encased in their precious lit- tle boxes, are also portable works of art. When closed, they fit into a pocket and can go anywhere with their owner. This can be a way of keeping on oneself something special and beloved. Portable minia- ture art isn’t something new – Marcel Duchamp’s Box in a Suitcase comes to mind – but today it seems more relevant than ever, “the best means for a vagabond or an exile to pos- sess things”, in a world where nomadism can also become a way of life.