Small is Beautiful: 100 Miniature Shrines Exhibit
by Joanne Frewer
Exhibit: Sept. 1 – 29, 2016
Included with Garden Admission | Free for Garden Members
Opening Reception: Thursday Sept. 9, 2016 | 4-6pm
By invitation | Free for Garden Members
“SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL. Look closely and find stillness, grace, humor and so many little surprises.” – Joanne Frewer
The inspiration for a series of miniature dioramas was born when Joanne saw a scene in her home in a fresh way. The juxtaposition of a Buddha in front of a painting made it seem like he was sitting on the beach. Her imagination firing, she thought “What if the Buddha went to the beach? What if he was a part of daily life?” This led to her first series of 100 shrines and a project now ten years in the making.
She never really understood her passion for shrine-making until she met a Buddhist teacher who said, ‘when you make Buddhist art, you become it and it heals you.’ She then realized it was part of the healing process for the passing of her dear brother.
Ten years later, shrine-making has transformed into an artistic meditation. There is a serenity and rhythm to the process. “You can’t hurry with miniatures. It takes days to make each one and to place all the tiny pieces. It taught me to slow down,” she says.
Creation starts by browsing her collection of thousands of miniatures sourced from all over the world.
Now on her third series of shrines, making 300 unique pieces and counting, she returns to exhibit in the appropriately named “Hall of 100 Rivers” at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
What people have said about Joanne’s work:
“Artist Joanne Frewer has constructed a collection of handmade shadow boxes containing miniature detailed scenes with Buddha, Kuan Yin and other deities. Each box draws you into a world where you might meet Buddha in Mexico or in his kitchen, or the God of Wealth in a forest. Created as a way to commemorate a beloved brother, each work is an expression of serenity and joy”. - Kathy Gibler, former Executive Director of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
“Joanne Frewer’s intricate handmade shadow boxes pull you into a detailed miniature world where deities roam…” - Georgia Straight, 2009