A new exhibition, Glass Cathedrals, at Catto Gallery in Hampstead features shadowbox sculptures of north London scenes

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A tiny girl flies her kite in front of a map of Parliament Hill. A man sits outside a café on Hampstead High Street, sipping his cup of coffee. These are just two of the shadowbox sculptures crafted by artist Lisa Swerling, in her new exhibition Glass Cathedrals.

Lisa situates miniature, three-dimensional figurines against a backdrop of a spacious environment such as an image of a location or a map, which is rendered on the back of the shadowbox.

For Lisa, the coupling of the figurines and shadowboxes illustrates the mundane and fleeting moments in people’s lives. It is a technique that has brought her international acclaim.

“We’re all just human, trying to find meaning. To stop for a moment, and look at ourselves in miniature proportions, has a curious emotional effect on people. The empathy we feel for the tiny figures in the boxes – struggling but resolute – can lead to a profound feeling of compassion for others – and for ourselves”.

  • Glass Cathedrals is at Catto Gallery, Heath Street, Hampstead until Wednesday, June 25. Details: 020 7435 6660, cattogallery.co.uk

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