TINY OXFORD is Mississippi artist Lee Harper’s homage to her adopted hometown in miniature diorama form.
This collection of pieces honor the long lost landmarks of Oxford town in her trademark microscopic sculptural style.
Mississippi artist Lee Harper spends a lot of time in her studio just outside Oxford, creating a variety of miniature worlds with simple tools and an extraordinary combination of patience and precision.
Harper’s miniature model series History Bones started out as a Halloween-themed treat for her then-young son. A macabre parody of the Christmastime “Elf on the Shelf” tradition turned into skeletal appreciations of memento mori culture, historical true crime events and other macabre scenes rendered in detail-rich but micro-scale sculpture.
Her Tiny Oxford series began as an homage to Oxford fixture Ron Shapiro’s long-defunct Hoka Theatre, a pre-Starbucks coffee shop fondly remembered by generations of older UM students. Lee built a small-scale replica of the building from archival photos and presented the piece for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s annual Powerhouse Christmas auction, and was overwhelmed by the positive response and flood of personal stories.
The original Hoka led to a string of commissions and explorations of the places that give Oxford its historical local flavor — from architectural gems (both stately and homespun) to the family-run businesses that shaped life for generations.
This book is the first volume of Harper’s Oxford work that reminds us of the gems around us and how our everyday touchstones can shift over time. And why we should appreciate the life-sized versions while we can.