Art Walks A Trail Through Art Parks And Sculpture Museums Across The World

Tired of visiting those same old cramped art galleries Well, here is a list of some stunning art trails across the world that lets you be in the great 'artdoors'
A Yayoi Kusama pumpkin greets you as your ferry docks into the harbour of Japan's Naoshima Art Island. Credit Shutterstock
A Yayoi Kusama pumpkin greets you as your ferry docks into the harbour of Japan's Naoshima Art Island. Credit Shutterstock

When you want to look at art, going to art galleries is the first thing that comes to mind. But with the summer season upon us, the great outdoors beckon you and the prospect of going into a compact, four-walled gallery might put you off. In that case, here is a list of some outdoor art parks and trails that lets you marvel over the beauty of art while also keeping you close to nature.

Inhale Exhale Helsinki Art Trail, Finland

This open museum spans nearly the entirety of Helsinki. This 'art jog' route was created by the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM), which includes ten statues and sculptures around the harbour and streets of Helsinki. The collection comprises the surrealist Song Trees created by Reijo Hukkanen, a nineteenth-century bust honouring "the father of Finnish music," Fredrik Pacius, a tribute to his immense contributions, and Emil Cedercreutz's poignant masterpiece from 1928, Maternal Love, depicting a tender moment shared between a mare and her foal. The curated collection of over 10,000 striking pieces seamlessly integrates art into the fabric of the city of Helsinki. Alongside the captivating "art jog" trail, HAM offers two additional routes featuring ten awe-inspiring sculptures each, providing even more opportunities for artistic exploration. Additionally, the museum presents a Pride trail, honouring diversity and inclusivity.

Naoshima Art Island, Japan

As your ferry gracefully glides into the harbour, you are greeted by the sight of a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin, partially submerged and adorned with red and black spots. This whimsical masterpiece hints at the artistic marvels that await you on this remarkable island, where modern and contemporary art flourish, both indoors and in the open air. The inception of the Benesse House Museum in 1992 marked a turning point for this once-industrial island, thanks to the creative endeavours of Japanese billionaire Soichiro Fukutake. Within its walls, you will encounter a treasure trove of artistic brilliance, showcasing the works of renowned luminaries such as David Hockney, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly. The museum provides a platform for these esteemed creators and artfully frames breathtaking Sato Inland Sea vistas, blending nature's beauty with the power of human expression.

Istanbul Street Art, Turkey

Istanbul's street art has been contributed not only by local artists but also by international figures from Poland, Chile and South Africa. On the other side of the Bosphorus, away from Istanbul Modern, Turkey's first dedicated modern and contemporary art museum, an art trail through the city streets would let you in on the wonders of Istanbul's street art. As you walk the route, you will notice, on the sides of buildings, abstract and surreal works on a variety of themes, from politics to our environment, all done up in vivid colours and intricate details.

Sevilla Rock Art Trail, South Africa

The Bushmen, or San people of South Africa, are regarded as the region's oldest inhabitants. These skilled hunter-gatherers once roamed expansively across the land, leaving behind their indelible legacy etched in their surroundings. The captivating 5km Sevilla Rock Art Trail traces the meandering path of the Brandewyn River. The trail unveils nine magnificent rock art sites, each a testament to the San's ancient artistic prowess, primarily covered in shades of red and often depicting skilled human hunters. The walk itself is gorgeous and abundant in natural wonders. Delight in the vibrant tapestry of plant life, particularly resplendent during the spring season, while a symphony of birdsong fills the air. Keep your senses attuned, for you may catch glimpses of the graceful eland, a creature often portrayed by the San and the spirited springbok. The Sevilla trail is part of the sprawling Cradle of Human Culture &ndash the Artists' Journey, an expansive route spanning the Western Cape, including a San cultural centre and the vibrant city of Cape Town.

Buddha Park, Laos

The Buddha Park was established in the late 1950s by a priest who tried to integrate Buddhism and Hinduism on the site, resulting in an assortment of purpose-made statues of gods, demons and fantastical figures. The park lies on the banks of the Mekong River, some 25 km from the capital. The Hindu deities Shiva and Vishnu stand tall amid various shaped and sized Buddhas. There is a staircase in the interiors of the park that leads to the top of the structure, where you get a panoramic view of the entire park. 

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