4:17 PM: At an invitation-only (but crowded) event under way right now, West Seattle’s troll Bruun Idun has just been “unveiled.”
As we first reported back in June, with a followup when troll-building began last week, this is one of six trolls that Danish artist Thomas Dambo is making from recycled materials and installing around the Northwest – first one was in Portland, then Bainbridge Island, now West Seattle (still to come are Issaquah, Vashon Island, and Ballard). Now that it’s been completed, its location at Lincoln Park has been revealed – right behind Colman Pool, where volunteers were still working to complete it this morning:
We took that photo after hiking in for a scheduled chance to talk briefly with the artist:
We also met John “Coyote” Halliday, a Muckleshoot Tribe artist who is contributing decorations to the troll, made primarily from bark and shells.
More photos and info to come – including the troll’s story (Dambo told us it’s meant to be “singing to the orcas”) – when we’re back from the event!
7:06 PM: Turns out Bruun Idun (“Idun” for short – pronounced like “Eden”) is playing a flute with a song for the orcas. Each troll has a poem, and Dambo read part of this one at the podium, including the line, “She played for them the orca song, to ask them where they all had gone.” Artist Coyote, meantime, explained that his creations are adorning Bruun Idun’s flute. He and Dambo had an “artist exchange” as part of this, including a visit by Coyote to Denmark, where he painted a killer whale on Dambo’s house. He and Dambo also exchanged gifts today.
This is all shown in our video of the program, which was emceed by Visit Seattle‘s Tracey Wickersham – a West Seattleite.
Guest speakers included Mayor Bruce Harrell, who talked with the artist before everyone moved to the portable podium:
The program began with a song by the Muckleshoot canoe family.
As underscored by the listing of partnerships at the end, this was a privately funded project. More information about Bruun Idun should appear soon on the nwtrolls.org website, as it has for the Portland troll Ole Bolle and the Bainbridge troll Pia. Dambo said this all was intended to happen a few years ago, but the pandemic interrupted the timeline. He has installed 121 “environmental sculptures” around the world and has more on the drawing board – even as this one was being built, he flew briefly to Austin, Texas, for meetings about a series planned next year.
P.S. As explained in our earlier interview with the artist – video above – no, they are NOT left to decompose; at some point the site host (Seattle Parks for this one) will decide when to dismantle it and recycle its components.
(Editor’s note: Troll’s name corrected post-publication to reflect that Bruun Idun is two words, not one as originally reported)