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Do giants still (or again) exist in Sweden that peoples all over the world know from ancient stories and that children also appreciate, precisely because these giants – like the dinosaurs – are mostly evil and one can be so wonderfully frightened of them.
We ask this weighty question because at the main bus station in the village of Broby in the south of Sweden there has recently been an oversized necklace that looks very much as if a giant woman had worn it and later left it there for decoration and to enhance the site with the bus stops.
We had first read about this mega necklace in the magazine “Sten“ (4/2022) of the Swedish Natural Stone Association and immediately looked on the Internet to see what was going on in Sweden.
The necklace was created by the young artist Maja Bakken, who is certainly no giant herself. But she has often created oversized artworks that can be found on her website. One example is “Wearing Humanity,“ a necklace she made from pieces of wood. She found them somewhere and then worked on them.
So far, so good.
However, it does not answer our general question about the giants.
Maja Bakken wanted to use the stone necklace as a “symbol for our common body“ in a place with a lot of pedestrian traffic, the automatic program DeepL translates the Swedish Sten text for us. The sheer size is intended to arouse the interest of the people passing by the shape is intended to remind them of the togetherness of the citizens and the material stone is intended to make the very long periods of time visible.
The fact that especially children had fun with the giant thing pleased Maja Bakken very much, we read further in the association’s magazine. Sure, it reminded her of her own phase of life as a child, where everything was possible, and the world was open. Sten writes of necklaces she strung herself on strings when she found beads in a box at home.
For the the bus station in Broby, Maja Bakken used waste pieces from stone processing. At a workspace of Zaarstone company she cut and drilled through the pieces. She also gave them various surfaces.
There are even more references to the stone, because the artist made the work as part of the Östra Göinge Stone Scholarship. Östra Göinge is the administrative unit to which the village of Broby belongs. An artist’s scholarship is awarded there because a famous variety of the pitch-black diabase is quarried in the area. It is found in abundance, for example, at the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building is known to be very tall, and this brings us full circle to our question about the giants.
We had guessed it…
May we write one more paragraph, dear readers? For in the old myths of the Cyclopes and One-Eyed Men one can find the answer to the question of how mankind came to have giants.
In ancient times, when seafarers explored the Mediterranean Sea and the north of Africa, they often found oversized skulls with a large hole in the middle of the forehead – the one-eyed men or Cyclopes were born.
Today the true core of the myth is known: the finds were skulls of dwarf elephants that had lived in a past climatic period at the Mediterranean coast and in what is now the Sahara. They were a lot smaller in stature than today’s elephant of the savannah but had much the same physique.
The hole in the forehead was not the eye, but the place for the nose opening and trunk. The eyes, on the other hand, were on the sides of the skull, as in all elephants and all grazing animals.
Broooooooaaaaaaaaarrrrr – if we ever make it to Broby, we know what’s going on when the elephants are roaring!
(03.02.2023, USA: 02.03.2023)