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Dances and Branches: Colossal’s Most-Read Stories of 2021
We spent the last year collaborating with creatives from every corner of the planet to publish nearly 700 articles and interviews that range from art, design, and photography to science and history. As we plan our coverage for 2022, we’re looking back at some of the stories you read most (thank you!). And in case you missed it, make sure you check out Colossal’s favorite short films and books from 2021, too.
Nine Massive Waves of Deadwood Surge Across a Forest Floor Near Hamburg
Between November 2020 and March 2021, Jörg Gläscher gathered deadwood and constructed nine massive crests that overwhelm the forest floor in undulating layers of branches and twigs.
Mammoth Straw Creatures Populate Japanese Farmland in the Annual Wara Art Festival
Enormous tarantulas, eagles, and dinosaur-like creatures occupy Japan’s Niigata Prefecture as part of the Wara Art Festival, a summertime event that displays massive animals and mythical creations fashioned from the rice crop’s leftover straw.
An Intimate Photographic Series Glimpses the Lives of the Children Who Fish in Ghana’s Lake Volta
Photographer Jeremy Snell unveils the more sinister side of Ghana’s Lake Volta through an intimate and profound series documenting the lives of the children working in the region.
‘Beneath the Bird Feeder’ Documents the Spectacular Wildlife Visiting a Wintertime Food Source
During the winter months of late 2020 into early 2021, Carla Rhodes photographed a diverse cast of cold-weather adventurers, including a brilliant northern cardinal, numerous pairs of mourning doves, and furry little field mice, that visited her birdfeeder.
Impasto Marks and Thick Dabs of Paint Render Dreamy Landscapes in Rich Layers of Color
Russian artist Anastasia Trusova works in a style she terms “textured graphic impressionism” that involves deftly layering acrylic paints into lush foliage, clouds, and fields of wildflowers.
A Restored Vermeer Painting Reveals a Hidden Cupid Artwork Hanging in the Background
2021 changed the way we understand a 17th-century painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. What was once thought to be a somewhat glum depiction of a young girl was revealed to be an amorous portrayal complete with a naked Cupid in the background.
Cheeky Busts by Gerard Mas Are Sculpted with a Contemporary Twist
The women artist Gerard Mas sculpts are spirited and unconventional as they blow a wad of bubblegum, sport visible tan lines, or unabashedly dig in their noses. Each corset-clad figure is steeped in humor and wit as it casts a contemporary light on the traditional form.
Herds of Life-Sized Elephants Roam Through London’s Parks for a Global Conservation Project
Sixty migrating elephants passed between Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace in London’s Green Park earlier this year as one of nine herds roaming throughout the city. The lumbering creatures are part of a collaboration that explores how humans can better live alongside animals.
Ceramic Mosaics Mend Cracked Sidewalks, Potholes, and Buildings in Vibrant Interventions by Ememem
Throughout his home city of Lyon, Ememem is known as “the pavement surgeon” because he repairs gouged sidewalks with colorful mosaics.
A Mesmerizing Dance Performance for the Paralympics Hand-Off Ceremony Choreographed by Sadeck Waff
As part of a closing hand-off ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, choreographer Sadeck Waff worked with 128 performers in a dizzying performance focused on arms and hands.
Chicago’s Manual Cinema Reveals How Its Shadow Puppets Became a Defining Feature of the New ‘Candyman’
Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history and draws in local artists, like the talented team at Manual Cinema. Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson interviewed co-artistic director Drew Dir when the film was released to discuss the unprecedented process of using shadow puppets in a blockbuster live-action film, experimenting with the technical limits of the medium, and conveying a story of racism and trauma.
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