• Artist Thomas Dambo is hiding giants made from recycled material in Denmark's woods to encourage people to explore the wilderness. (Thomas Dambo)Source: Thomas Dambo
Thomas Dambo hopes to encourage people to be more environmentally friendly and enjoy nature as they hunt for his '6 Forgotten Giants', which are made from recycled materials.
Alyssa Braithwaite

11 May 2017 - 2:55 PM  UPDATED 11 May 2017 - 5:10 PM

As a 12-year-old child, Danish artist Thomas Dambo grew up building treehouses out of whatever junk he could find.

"I didn't have money and opportunity to transport stuff, so in order to make my big and creative dreams come true, I had to go scavenge it with a shopping cart."

Fast forward 25 years, and Dambo has become an expert in turning trash into treasure, creating recycled installations in wood, plastic and metal. And he's hoping to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

"I believe we need to take better care of our planet and that being better at recycling is a big part of this," Dambo tells SBS.

"For me it makes no sense to discord things that has value, it's just plain stupid. So to put focus on this I make big, positive, fun and interactive projects to show people that recycling can be much more than trash."

His latest, 'The 6 Forgotten Giants', are huge recycled wood sculptures that he has hidden in remote areas of the Danish wilderness.

He gives clues as to where to find each one - beside each giant is a poem engraved on a stone, which gives hints on how to find the other giants.

The idea is to encourage people to get out and discover all the beautiful, unexplored areas of nature where they live.

"I believe a lot of people have forgotten to be curious and explore the places they live - as we grow older we start living our lives in a triangle between our house, our job and our supermarket," he says.

"So by putting the sculptures in places people don't know about and don't normally go, I both give them the experience of the sculpture but also the nature they come through on the way there.

"I made it into a treasure hunt to give the project some mystique and adventure."

Dambo names each giant after one of the volunteers who helped build it. His favourite giant is Teddy Friendly, which is in a "piece of wild and completely forgotten nature" in west Copenhagen called Hakkemosen.

"I made the sculpture next to a tiny stream, and made the one arm reach to the other side of the stream, so it creates a bridge for the small humans to cross," he says.

"I think it's a nice little story that the giant helps us small humans."

Dambo's other work includes 4000+ street art birdhouses made of recycled wood, giant interactive pixel installations called Happy Walls, and other large wooden sculptures.

Other Dambo sculptures are on display in Germany, Puerto Rico, the US state of Florida, and on the Gold Coast in Australia, where he created Rob the snake, Kangaroo Kat, and Steve the Shark.

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