Trolls: Save the Humans Comes to Atlanta Botanical Garden

February 17, 2023

Trolls: Save the Humans by Thomas Dambo – an exhibition featuring six of the artist’s enormous folklore-inspired sculptures built from reclaimed materials – will make its world premiere at the Atlanta Botanical Garden February 18 – September 17, 2023.

The all-new traveling exhibition will amaze and delight visitors of all ages with its whimsical sculptures, each created from reclaimed materials, highlighting the artist’s passion as a recycling art activist. His vision is to create art that inspires people to explore and create new adventures in nature while demonstrating that trash can be turned into something beautiful and unique.

Produced by Imagine Exhibitions in collaboration with the artist, Trolls: Save the Humans blends art, nature and messages of sustainability in a unique outdoor art installation. The exhibition is Dambo’s latest exploration in crafting giant trolls – ranging from 16 to 50 feet tall -- with an environmental call. In this new exhibit, Dambo tells an evolved story of listening and tending to nature, further building on the Nordic-inspired tales and artist-made poems surrounding the many other larger-than-life trolls that co-exist in various locations around the world, including Denmark, France, Germany, China, South Korea, Chile and the United States.

Trolls: Save the Humans is the latest chapter in the worldwide sculpture fairytale, written by Dambo one installation at a time. In this case, 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 the planet. Full of personality and activism, each troll has a name and plays a distinctive role in the tribe, becoming role models for humans to learn from. For example, Ronja Redeye, who is the group leader, has a voice like whistling leaves in the wind; when she speaks, everyone listens. Another troll, Rosa Sunfinger, places flowers in an improvised flower pot made from a real car to watch the garden grow. Ibbi Pip puts up birdhouses, while another listens to the ground.

Most importantly, the exhibition allows visitors to appreciate both nature and  sculpture as something beautiful and may inspire visitors to recycle, rethink and value their own trash.

“As an organization whose mission is to help save the planet through plant conservation and research, this exhibition is the perfect fit for helping us spread the sustainability message among our guests,” said Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden’s President & CEO. “Plus, it’s an accessible experience for all ages.”

Tom Zaller, President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, said his company is proud to partner with Dambo to bring the exhibition’s creative vision to the Garden. “We’re delighted to collaborate on this world premiere and to offer a new outdoor exhibition for visitors, bringing another amazing exhibition to Imagine’s hometown of Atlanta,” he said.

Born in Odense, Denmark, Dambo’s mission is to create art that inspires people to explore, have adventures in nature and show that recycled goods can be turned into something beautiful. Before embarking on the path of building larger-than-life troll sculptures, the artist, 43, led a multi-faceted life that allowed him to express his creativity via music, street art and scenic design. After graduating from the Kolding Design School with a master’s degree in interactive design, Dambo began his journey of using recycled materials to create colorful art installations. He currently lives and works in Copenhagen.

Dambo is best known for his colossal troll sculptures that “live” as permanent or semi-permanent installations in parks, greenspaces, industrial parks and other site-specific locations around the world. Each folklore-inspired sculpture is imbued with expression and character, and built entirely from scrap materials like wooden pallets, fallen branches and twigs sourced from the location of the installation. Many have an associated folk tale written by Dambo himself that addresses the complex problem of our world in a fun and approachable way.