Giant Troll Exhibition Brings Message of Sustainability to Cheekwood

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photo courtesy of Cheekwood

The exhibition Trolls: Save the Humans from Denmark-based recycle artist Thomas Dambo is currently open at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens until September 1, 2024. Six gigantic sculptural trolls, ranging in size from 16 feet tall to 24 feet long, each made from reclaimed wood, take up residence around the Nashville botanical garden and arboretum’s 55 acres to relay messages of stewardship and sustainability to humans or from the troll’s perspective, the “small people” of earth.

“We’re excited for guests of Cheekwood to discover and learn from these larger-than-life visitors next summer,” said Jane MacLeod, president and CEO of Cheekwood in a release. “Dambo’s trolls will feel at home among Cheekwood’s gardens, and his example that something discarded can become something beautiful is an important message for people of all ages.”

Trolls: Save the Humans is produced by Imagine Exhibitions in collaboration with Dambo. The Cheekwood iteration takes into account Cheekwood’s unique gardens, trees and landscape for a one-of-a-kind storytelling experience. Children and adults alike will enjoy imagining each of the six featured trolls’ folklore-inspired tales and considering their individual messages to humankind. Trolls: Save the Humans is the latest chapter in the worldwide sculpture fairytale, written by Dambo one installation at a time.

In this installation, six young activist trolls have noticed that humans are disconnected from nature and have started harming the planet. The young trolls set out to help humans learn how to live in harmony with nature. Full of personality, each troll has a name and plays a distinctive role in the tribe, becoming role models for humans. For example, Ronja Redeye, who is the group leader,has a voice like whistling leaves in the wind; when she talks, everything else goes quiet. Another troll, Rosa Sunfinger, places flowers in an improvised flowerpot made from a real car. Watching the flowers grow makes her happy. She has noticed “small people” could use a flower or two.

With a background in music and street art and a master’s degree from Kolding Design School, Dambo brings a creative and versatile approach to his multifaceted installations. Dambo is internationally renowned for his troll sculptures, which have been privately commissioned and publicly exhibited around the world. His gentle giants serve to facilitate reconnection to nature and encourage onlookers to take better care of our planet.

Trolls: Save the Humans is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cheekwood members will have exclusive access to purchase tickets first. For details on the exhibition, membership information, and more, visit cheekwood.org.

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