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Dances and Branches: Colossal’s Most-Read Stories of 2021

Claudia Baldwin

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Dances and Branches: Colossal’s Most-Read Stories of 2021

December 29, 2021

Colossal

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, Jo?rg Gla?scher 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.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!

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25 One-Hit Wonders You Probably Haven’t Thought About Since Your Childhood, but They Look Good As HECK Today

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Street Photography by Juri Nesterov Documents Ukrainian Life Across Decades

Claudia Baldwin

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Kyiv. 2020. All images shared with permission.

Photography, and street photography, in particular, has the power to preserve the fleeting, framing the brief encounters and dalliances that sometimes end as quickly as they began. This impulse to document the momentary permeates throughout Juri Nesterov‘s body of work that serves as a visual record of those he’s witnessed within the last five decades. “When I look into the camera’s viewfinder, something inexplicable happens: thousands of images appear in my memory,” he writes.

Nesterov was born in 1954 in Krasnyi Luch, a city in the Luhansk province of what is now Ukraine. At the time, the area was part of Soviet Russia, and this shift in borders parallels the photographer’s practice, which often centers on the transient and ephemeral nature of the human experience.

Krasnyi Luch (Khrustalny). 1987.

Because of revolution, war, and collapse, Nesterov’s photos also chronicle life under the control of governments that have since dissolved, and the context of being surrounded by such inability makes his focus on the fundamental humanity of his subjects even more impactful. He says:

After a while, looking at my prints, I feel like the photos are electric. Most of the time I hear the question: “Where was this picture taken” or “What kind of camera? What lens?” I really want to answer: “in the world of people with their thoughts, disappointments, and hopes.”…Does it matter where exactly I pressed the camera button?… Look at the world, we all have the same starry sky.

Nesterov worked in journalism for many years and has exhibited his photos throughout Europe, although some of his prints housed at a Ukrainian museum were destroyed during shelling a few years back. Head to Flickr to explore an incredible archive of his photos that until recently, he was still developing in his kitchen in Kyiv.

Krasnyi Luch (Khrustalny). 1985.

Christmas ornaments. Kyiv, Ukraine, 2016.

Krasnyi Luch (Khurstalny). 1984.

Holiday village. Near Kyiv, Ukraine. 2018.

Makeevka. 1987.

Friendship. Kyiv, Ukraine. 2018.

Makeevka. 1987.

Kyiv, Ukraine, 2016.

Pereyaslav-Khmelnitski, Ukraine, 2016.

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Kourtney Kardashian Says She Got Therapy After She ‘Couldn’t Stop Crying’ Following Scott Disick Split

Claudia Baldwin

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Kourtney Kardashian revealed therapy has made her ‘really sensitive’ and helped her deal with an ‘abundance of feelings.’

Kourtney Kardashian, 42, revealed she’s been on a “therapy journey” since 2017 — which would have began shortly after her split from longtime boyfriend Scott Disick, 39. “I would just start crying all the time,” she said in Bustle magazine’s March 3 issue of what made her seek mental health support. “‘I just have feelings; like, an abundance of them,” she added, noting that working with a therapist has made her more “sensitive.”

The Poosh founder and former beau Scott began their rocky romance back in 2007, and welcomed three kids together: Mason, 11, Penelope, 9, and Reign, 6. Shortly after the birth of Reign, and amid Scott’s on-going struggles with drugs and alcohol, the pair called things quits. Over the years, Scott has maintained a close relationship with the Kardashian-Jenner clan — particularly with Kourtney’s younger sister Khloe Kardashian and mom Kris Jenner. Kourtney has admitted that Scott continuing to be included by her family members on vacations and holidays made moving on from the relationship more difficult.

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick began their romance in 2007, and split for good in 2016. (SplashNews)

After engaging in therapy, she says she experienced “growth” that helped her move forward. “I see the growth that comes from those unhappy places which make it all worth it. I’m like, ‘If we didn’t go through these roller coasters, you wouldn’t get to the good part,’” she added.

Kourtney Kardashian and fiancé Travis Baker. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Kourt is now in a much happier place in her life: the reality star began a romance with fiancé Travis Barker, 46, in early 2021 that lead to a proposal just 10 months later. This marks Kourtney’s first time being engaged, and the pair — affectionately named “Kravis” — seem happier than her. After her split from Scott, the 42-year-old also dated model Younes Bendjima on-and-off.

The health guru has previously opened about therapy, revealing she has a “double session” weekly to Health magazine. “I look forward to it every week! Having that awareness, I find that I can almost catch things before they become a bigger deal,” she said. “When those harder moments do happen, I think, ‘What’s the lesson that I’m supposed to be learning?’” she pondered.

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