Meet Pia the Peacekeeper, the troll maintaining harmony between communities and the environment.
Say “hallo” to Pia: the new troll on Bainbridge Island! Pia the Peacekeeper, created by Copenhagen-based artist Thomas Dambo, is an 18-foot-tall troll made from recycled wood residing in Sakai Park. Thomas Dambo is considered the world’s leading recycle artist, having been taught from a young age the value of recycling, sustainability, and unlimited imagination. Pia the Peacekeeper is a small yet significant part of the “Way of the Bird King” project, aiming to place six trolls around the Pacific Northwest, including Ballard, West Seattle, Issaquah, Vashon Island, and Portland.
The “Way of the Bird King” project is managed by the Scan Design Foundation (SDF), whose mission is to advance Danish-American relations by supporting cultural exchanges focused on environmental sustainability. The project showcases the cultural heritage of the Coast Salish tribal communities while incorporating Danish and Scandinavian traditions. The project is primarily funded by SDF in partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Additional funding for Pia was secured through local businesses and individuals passionate about the project as well as the message. Dawn Janow, a Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District Board Commissioner, worked with the partners to help bring the ideas and passion of the project to life. The Park District provided the site and support to make Pia available to the Bainbridge Island community. The project aims to reinforce the shared values of environmental stewardship for watershed protection, restoration, and preservation of riparian habitats.
These values align with the Park District’s mission to maintain and preserve the environment, making the partnership with SDF a natural pairing. While environmental awareness is pivotal to the project, the project partners are aware of the paradox brought up as people leave a carbon footprint to view the troll. Instead, the project partners encourage viewers of Pia to walk or bike from the ferry terminal using the Sound to Olympic Trail and John Nelson Trail. Other modes of transportation are available from Kitsap Transit and BI Ride. Due to limited parking at the site, excess parking can be found at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center across the street.
PNW Trolls: Way of the Bird King
As Dambo makes his way around the Pacific Northwest, he is accompanied by a team of five from various states in the United States and multiple countries worldwide. Currently, they have been separated into two groups in vans, leap-frogging the other to prepare and start each troll as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Though the head of Pia was built in Thomas’s studio in Copenhagen and then shipped to Bainbridge Island, the rest of the body was built on-site at Sakai Park with the help of the Park District, Scouts Troop 1496, Cub Scout Pack 4496, and other passionate volunteers over the course of seven days. Troll Patrol (Scouts Troop 1496 and Cub Scout Pack 4496) oversaw the site and tools during the nighttime to maintain the project site.
Pia can be found along the loop in Sakai Park, basking peacefully in the sun as visitors come and go throughout the day. As she sits on the ground, her hands can be seen in a peace sign formation, or for visitors to stand in the middle of to be “squeezed.” Pia is expected to last at least three years, but visitors are encouraged not to climb on her to maintain her beauty for longer. As Dambo completes each troll installation, he writes a poem for each of his creations to help tell their unique story; Pia’s poem reads:
“Pretty pretty please, let’s keep the peace beneath the trees,
Hold you in my hand, I will remind you with a squeeze;
Quiet, little people, cause your criers make me tired,
Pia likes to play with people, people they keep quiet.”
We hope the Bainbridge Island community will admire Pia by visiting her in Sakai Park. To view the full list of sponsors, donors, and community partners, please visit www.nwtrolls.org/. You can elp fundraise for Pia, visit: https://www.bainbridgetroll.org. To find out more about Pia visit: https://biparks.org/bainbridge-troll/.
Written by: Camille Zaro