Imagine being eight years old again; your primary motivators are solely sugar and attention. You wonder what it would feel like to be back in that young mindset, the one that only does things because you wanted to, not because you had to. Your curiosity spirals to unveil what you didn’t realize deep down you desired most: do something just because they’re fun to do—no rhyme or reason, just fun.
When we were younger, we thought the universe was in the rock we just cracked open on the concrete; time taught us that was never the case. Time taught adults that it was time to grow up. But what if there was a chance you could be a kid again for just a day? Would you take it?
In forests west of Copenhagen lies an adventure waiting to get unmasked. Thomas Danbo has created adventure within his art by hiding six fantastical wooden giants in places in Copenhagen that many people tended to overlook. Being a native of the city allowed Danbo to add a piece of himself to his sculptures by adding design elements based on his experience in each area. Danbo states on his website that the hope behind the outdoor installation is to “bring art out of the museum show the beautiful and often overlooked nature spots, and at the same time give an exciting and different experience.” However, many also believe the idea behind his art was purely subconscious.
Many believe the true meaning behind his art is revival. Danbo told Lonley Travel Planet News, “I think there is a beautiful aesthetic to the story that someone cut down a tree to make something in wood that was then discarded and now I out that wood back in that forest and made a big beautiful wooden sculpture. The sculptures represent this–that we should think twice before we discard our things because they could become something magnificent” It is pretty interesting to watch the cycle of revival. Still, the theme of rebirth doesn’t stop there.
Danbo couldn’t accomplish his vision without the help of his local volunteers. Once he finished each piece, he would name the sculpture after a volunteer that helped build them. Danbo thinks of the 6 Giant journey as “the first chapter of Thomas Dambo’s ongoing story: “The great story of the little people and the giant trolls.”
When hunting for these sculptures, it’s essential to remember that locations are not simply given out via the internet. It is not the wonderous figures that give the pieces their meanings; each piece maintains its own identity and location. One of the most immersive and fun parts of this installment is that Danbo puts the coordinates of each sculpture on a treasure map, and if you run out of phone charge, there are little poems hinting at the location of each sculpture carved onto rocks as you get closer.
As the years continued to age, the once new sculpture, Sleeping Louis, lost some toes but is still strong enough to house the homeless. Little Tilde still has 28 birdhouses for birds and squirrels to seek shelter when winter hits Vallensbæk Mose. Resting hikers still eat their lunches while sitting on Thomas on the Mountain; Oscar is still hanging under that bridge. And the Hilltop Trine continues to give her visitors a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Avedøresletten. Dambo said in an interview, “Sculptures are there to stay as long as theyre safe–the reaction from visitors has been extremely positive. Our planet’s natural resources are being used up, and we are living with the possibility that some of the things we take for granted will no longer exist in our children’s lives. Recycling, however, provides an alternative to using these resources, helping to promote their longevity until more sustainable versions are developed instead.”
Thomas hopes his art opens people’s eyes to seeing the potential of recycling and taking care of our planet and each other. He continues to create similar figures around the world with a treasure map planned in the back of his mind. He is reviving not only his life with adventure but his admirers as well.