Meet the Friendly Giants of Kentucky’s Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Three friendly forest giants now reside within Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, located just outside of Louisville in Clermont, Kentucky. The wooden sculptures are stationed throughout Bernheim's 16,000 acres.
Mama Loumari, pregnant, leans against the trunk of a tree. Her face is thoughtful as visitors to the forest look up at her. One hand on her stomach, she looks toward the line of trees before her. Behind her is a makeshift home full of knick-knacks. Elsewhere in the forest is Little Nis, who can be found staring at his reflection in the Holly Pond. His sister, Little Elina — the last on the trail — sprawls out beside rocks, which she formed into the shape of a feather. She wears a colorful bracelet on her wrist.
They come in celebration of Bernheim's 90th anniversary and will call the forest home for three years, having first arrived in mid-March. Crafted by Copenhagen-based artist Thomas Dambo, the giants are made from recycled materials — bourbon barrel staves, scraps from the Louisville Slugger Museum and fallen trees.
Like a fairy tale come to life, the creatures bring a sense of whimsy to the forest.
But the trio is part of a larger story, pieces of which are scattered throughout the world. Dambo's work can be found as far as South Korea and the coast of Australia to spots in Europe and more in the United States.
The story of Nis, Elina and Mama Loumari can be found in a still-in-progress tale being written by Dambo. Their chapter, While the Weather Got Better, can be found here.