Dances and Branches: Colossals most read stories in 2021

Art dance history photography

December 29, 2021


We spent the last year collaborating with creatives from all corners of the planet to publish nearly 700 articles and interviews ranging from art, design and photography to science and history. As we plan our coverage for 2022, we look back at some of the stories you read the most (thank you!). And if you missed it, be sure to check out Colossal’s favorite short films and books from 2021 as well.

Nine massive waves of dead wood waves over a forest floor near Hamburg

Between November 2020 and March 2021, Jörg Gläscher collected dead wood and constructed nine massive ridges that overwhelm the forest floor in undulating layers of branches and twigs.

Mammoth Straw Creatures populate Japanese farmland at the annual Wara Art Festival

Huge tarantulas, eagles and dinosaur-like creatures occupy Japan’s Niigata prefecture as part of the Wara Art Festival, a summer event showcasing massive animals and mythical creations made from the rice crop’s straw.

An intimate photographic series provides a glimpse into the lives of the children fishing in Lake Volta in Ghana

Photographer Jeremy Snell reveals the more sinister side of Lake Volta in Ghana through an intimate and in-depth series documenting the lives of the children working in the region.

‘Beneath the Bird Feeder’ documents the spectacular wildlife that visits a winter food source

During the winter months of late 2020 into early 2021, Carla Rhodes photographed a diverse group of adventurers in cold weather, including a glorious northern cardinal, numerous pairs of mourning pigeons, and furry little field mice visiting her bird food.

Impasto marks and thick patches of paint provide dreamy landscapes in rich layers of color

Russian artist Anastasia Trusova works in a style she calls “textured graphic impressionism”, which involves deft layering of acrylic paint in lush foliage, clouds and wildflower fields.

A restored Vermeer painting reveals a hidden Cupid artwork hanging in the background

2021 changed the way we understand a painting from the 17th century by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. What was once considered a somewhat gloomy depiction of a young girl was revealed to be an amorous depiction complete with a naked Cupid in the background.

Naughty busts by Gerard Mas are sculpted with a modern twist

Female artist Gerard Mas’ sculptures are lively and untraditional when they blow a bite of chewing gum, sport visible tan lines or rude graves in their noses. Each corset-clad figure is imbued with humor and wit as it sheds a contemporary light on the traditional form.

Herds of life-size elephants roam through London 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 flocks roaming the city. The emptying creatures are part of a collaboration that explores how humans can better live with animals.

Ceramic mosaics repair cracked sidewalks, holes and buildings in lively interventions by Ememem

Throughout his hometown of Lyon, Ememem is known as the “sidewalk surgeon” because he repairs hollowed out sidewalks with colorful mosaics.

A mesmerizing dance performance for the Paralympic handover ceremony choreographed by Sadeck Waff

As part of a closing ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, choreographer Sadeck Waff worked with 128 artists in a dizzying performance focusing on arms and hands.

Chicago’s Manual Cinema reveals how its shadow puppets became a crucial feature of the new ‘Candyman’

Our DaCosta’s such man is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history and attracts local artists, such as the talented team at Manual Cinema. Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson interviewed 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 media’s technical boundaries and conveying a story of racism and trauma.

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