These Playful Pictures Of Toy Figures Pose Serious Questions

Camilla Hällgren explores inequality, gender and gun violence in her art.

An artist from Sweden is going small to look at the bigger global picture.

Camilla Hällgren places playful-looking miniature toy figures next to everyday items to create powerful photographs that throw the spotlight on pressing social issues.

Inequality, power, immigration, democracy, gender and gun violence all come under the university researcher's gaze in her "Little Sweden Art" project.

"Who are we in this big world? What does it mean to be human?" she says are the underlying questions that rule her work. "What does it mean to become a man or a woman?"

Hällgren uploads her macro-style images with a brief caption to Facebook and Instagram. It's then up to the viewer to decipher their further specific meanings, she writes on her website.

Her newest photograph (above) was posted three weeks ago and is an apparent commentary on the ongoing European migrant crisis. It depicts wooden hands cradling a boat called "Hope" which is packed full of miniature figures.

Another image, with the description "Protecting the innocent," critiques gun violence with the figures painting a firearm with nail polish. A third photograph ponders over the destruction of the Earth as the toys sew up a squishy globe with the caption, "The kids won't notice."

Hällgren, who works for the mid-northern Umeå University, calls her creative technique "Art Blended Research."

"It draws on the insight of that there is more to see than meets the eye," she writes. "The strength of this approach, however, does not lie in the ability to explain what is. Instead, the strength of Art Blended Research is found in possible explorations and inspirations of what might be."

Hällgren, who's worked on the ongoing project for more than three years, told Mashable she's now learning to better trust her images and the messages they convey.

"I have learned that art can be a powerful way to go if you are looking for emotional dimensions, vicarious experiences, experiential knowledge, or ... expressing alternative world views and disrupting stereotypes," she said.

The Huffington Post reached out to Hällgren for comment.

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