Step inside a whimsical world where giant Scandinavian trolls have invaded and are wreaking havoc on your grounds! Welcome to Thomas Dambo’s Trolls: an all-new outdoor traveling exhibition under development now. The exhibition will utilize fairy tales and folklore to address themes related to the importance of nature, how our actions impact the earth and its creatures, and what choices we can each make in our day to day lives to care for our planet. The outdoor exhibition will build upon the tales surrounding the more than 75 giant trolls (and counting!) that Dambo has already created, while also telling an original story in and of itself.
Dambo is an artist and climate activist based in Denmark who carries the title of the world’s most prominent “recycle artist.” He is best known for his colossal troll sculptures that range in height from 16 to 50 feet and ‘live’ as permanent or semi-permanent installations in parks, greenspaces, industrial parks, and in other site-specific locations around the world. Each folklore-inspired sculpture is imbued with expression and character and is built entirely from scrap materials like wooden pallets, fallen branches, and twigs sourced from the location of the installation. Driven by a mission to inspire people to explore our relationship with the planet, many of Dambo’s works have an associated folk tale written by Dambo himself that addresses a complex problem of our world in an approachable, fun way.
In the Spring of 2018, Dambo unveiled a temporary exhibition of six of his trolls at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago, IL. The exhibition was an enormous success, leading to the garden’s two highest attended years in its nearly 100-year history. 1.26 million people visited the arboretum in 2018 during the run of Troll Hunt, with the first month of the exhibition clocking the most visitors they had ever had in a 30-day period (164,000 visitors). However, after the temporary exhibition was extended due to popular demand, Troll Hunt had to close in January 2021 in preparation for the Arboretum's next scheduled exhibition. Inspired by the enthusiasm of the visitors and moved to find a way to enable Dambo’s work to have a longer lifespan in the spirit of reducing, reusing, and recycling, Imagine Exhibitions has subsequently partnered with Dambo to develop an evergreen traveling exhibition. The show will be designed to tour zoos, botanic gardens, arboretums, and like-minded outdoor visitor attractions worldwide
“Once I saw Thomas Dambo’s giant trolls, I was instantly inspired and delighted,” Says Imagine Exhibitions President & CEO, Tom Zaller. “Then, when I learned more about his mission to use his materials, methods, sculptures, and associated fairy tales to tell a story about conservation and climate change, I immediately knew that I wanted to work with him to develop a touring experience. The traveling trolls exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to surprise, delight, and inspire visitors around the world.”
Dambo says he is also looking forward to working with Imagine Exhibitions, “I’m constantly working with—so to speak—stretching the materials as far as possible, elevating the life and value of recycled materials through art. Doing a traveling exhibition together with Imagine Exhibitions makes so much sense. It is a brilliant way to spread the message about recycling further and to have shorter exhibitions without turning the sculptures into trash again. Together, I’m sure we’ll bring a lot of good energy to the world—I’m looking forward to this adventure!”
The Imagine Exhibitions sales team is currently discussing the exhibition with potential host venues. To learn more about bringing the trolls traveling exhibition to your outdoor venue, contact email@example.com.
Read an Interview with Thomas Dambo