02 March 2020

The Great Story of the Little People

TRADA image

“The Great Story of the Little People” is a sculptural series and folklore fairytale story told by Danish recycle artist Thomas Dambo. Through the medium of grand-scale wooden trolls, over 55 of which are scattered across the world, Dambo tells a magical story of adventure and wonder, and the importance of humanity caring for the earth.


On the surface, the Great Story is about getting people out of the cities and into nature. The towering wooden trolls lure us out into the world where we might not normally go, to experience things and secret spots we might not normally see. It is about provoking a sense of wonder in us – in seeing trees, leaves, bushes and soil from a new and dazzling perspective.


But, further still, the project has another agenda. Thomas Dambo leverages his background as a songwriter to create stories rife with meaning, and the trolls themselves are leveraged in his stories to give a new perspective of our behaviours as well. Every tale within the Great Story of the Little People is interconnected and written around one common theme – protecting nature – and told through the eyes of the trolls who often wonder why the “little people” treat the earth the way we do.


Consequently, Dambo instils the entire experience with purpose. A traipse through woodland to experience the giant trolls and their magic results in quiet self-reflection for all ages, where children and adults alike can deepen their relationships with nature and consider the consequential impact of their behaviours on the natural environments filled with wonder.


Each troll is built in parts in Dambo’s Copenhagen workshop, then shipped to location and finished on-site by Dambo’s team of 6–8 people, 2–3 local carpenters, and another 3–5 daily volunteers – using locally sourced scrap wood and materials.


Dambo often creates extra elements which provide flavour to the experience, including supersized tools, artifacts, instruments, rock formations, temples and large habitats – all of which give visitors the feeling of being “little people” and offer plenty of interactive experience with the trolls’ environments.


By purposefully crafting each troll and his possessions from recycled materials, Dambo is showing people the importance of recycling, giving worth to things believed to lack value, and how protecting nature protects you too.


At its heart, the Great Story of the Little People is a tale of sustainability which encourages a love of nature across the world and across all walks of life – and we must note that it is working. Feedback from “troll-hunters” and Dambo’s partners have sung the collection’s praise, suggesting attendance to spots secreting trolls has far surpassed expectations.


For more information about recycle artist Thomas Dambo, or to view more of his work, visit his website