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A family of Forest Giants will invade Bernheim this month

By Bernheim

Source: Insider Louisville
By Sara Havens
March 4, 2019

One Forest Giant, “Little Nis,” already has found his place at Bernheim. | Courtesy of Bernheim Forest

Over the course of the next few weeks, a family of three Forest Giants will invade the more than 16,000 acres of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

The creatures come courtesy of the Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who constructs the benevolent sculptures out of recycled and repurposed materials.

Dambo was hired by Bernheim to create the giants as part of its 90th-anniversary celebration, and he’s working at the forest on the installments through March 18. The public is encouraged to stop by and watch Dambo do his magic.

Artist Thomas Dambo at Bernheim | Courtesy of Bernheim Forest

The giants will be a mother and her two children, one of which has already found a spot at Bernheim’s Holly Pond. “Little Nis” is a boy child who is looking into his own reflection, and he will be joined by his sister who will be playing with rocks and his mother, who will be resting against a tree.

Since its founding in 1929, Bernheim has focused on merging nature and art, offering a protected place for both.

“Through art, people can experience nature in a whole new way, which is why we are thrilled to host Thomas and his team,” said Executive Director Mark Wourms in a news release. “These giants are a wondrous addition to our 16,137-acre forest, which we think is already a pretty magical place — a place where people connect with nature, a place where thousands of plant and wildlife species flourish and place that is a source of clean air and clean water for the entire Greater Louisville region.”

Dambo has created dozens of similar sculptures — from towering trolls to giant kangaroos — all around the world and hopes to inspire people to recycle and also think more deeply about the impact our lifestyle choices have on the planet.

In an interview with BrightVibes, Dambo said he got the idea to build the sculptures after noticing that wherever he went, he was always able to find discarded pallets and scrap wood.

“I think it’s amazing that we can dive into people’s trash and then take it out and create these huge things that spawn all these experiences for all the people who see them because if it would have stayed in the container, it would have had no value,” he explained.

“I think the best way to teach people to recycle better is by actually involving them in doing it. I think that is really what our world needs is to think of our trash as something beautiful instead of something disgusting,” he continued. “If we can alter that perspective, then we can solve a lot of the problems we have on our planet, which is basically drowning in our own trash.”

The Forest Giants are friendly. | Courtesy of Bernheim Forest

Once Bernheim’s three Forest Giants are complete, they will hang out there for at least three years, offering photo-taking opportunities to anyone who visits and dares to approach the massive sculptures. It marks Dambo’s second-largest installation in the United States to date, following Illinois’ Morton Arboretum in 2018.

Bernheim is located in Clermont, Ky., about 20 minutes south of Louisville.

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