The World’s Strangest Art from statues to monuments
All over the world, you find weird and wonderful statues, provocative street art, and public art that simply puzzles. The world encompasses a vast range of the strangest art that can inspire us, make us think, and sometimes horrify us.
From a marble mortar and pestle in Macael Spain to the Polestar roundabout in Letterkenny Ireland (locals say the monument isn’t finished because someone stole the materials) the weirdest artworks are often found in public spaces.
And of course, you can’t forget the unusual Floating Baby statue in the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
Our world contains some of the most interesting monuments, sculptures, public works of art and strange installations everywhere. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you are in you will find a multitude of works both made by artists and nature that will intrigue, fascinate, offend and puzzle.
This small collection of some of the World’s weirdest public art has been compiled from travellers around the world.
Strangest Art Installations around the World
- The World's Strangest Art from statues to monuments
- Strangest Art Installations around the World
- The World's weirdest statues, monuments & sites
- Shuttlecocks: Kansas City
- Verity: Ilfracombe, Devon
- Giant Vegreville Egg: Alberta, Canada
- Penshaw Monument: Sunderland, England
- Monumento al Mate: Chile
- Giant Vimto Bottle: Manchester, UK
- Darvaza the Gates of Hell: Turkemenistan
- Marfa, Parda: West Texas, USA
- The Fremont Troll: Seattle USA
- The Largest Ball of Twine: Minnesota, USA
- Jackie Chan Film Gallery: Shanghai
- Studio City: Macau
- Santa Claus: Rotterdam Netherlands
- Peeing statues: Prague
- The Crown Fountain: Chicago
- Man at Work: Slovakia
- Durian Statue: Kampot, Cambodia
- Mafalda: Buenos Aires Argentina
- Penis-shaped rock: Algarve, Portugal
- Bronze Breast: Amsterdam
- Qutb: India
- Haw Par Villa: Singapore
- Alexander the Great statue: Skopje, Macedonia
- Joseph Stalin Monument & Museum: Russia
- Manneken Pis: Belgium
- "El Beso" (The Kiss): Lima, Perú
- The World's Largest Rubber Stamp: Cleveland USA
- Salvador Dali's Diving Helmet: Uffington UK
- The Kissing Sailor: San Diego USA
- Charging Bull: New York
- Blue Whale of Catoosa: Tulsa, Oklahoma
- The Wawa Goose: Ontario Canada
- Bruce Lee a symbol of peace: Mostar, Yugoslavia
- Paper Bag: Adelaide Australia
- The Unusual in Prague: Czech Republic
- Girl on a Rooster: Havana, Cuba
- Wooden Scooter: Congo, Africa
- Carhenge: Nebraska U.S.A
- Kelpies: Scotland
- Jeju Loveland: Korea
The World’s weirdest statues, monuments & sites
Shuttlecocks: Kansas City
Visiting the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City feels a bit like falling into Alice’s Wonderland. But instead of a game of croquet, visitors find themselves in the middle of a badminton game. That’s because four larger-than-life shuttlecocks adorn the lush, green lawn of the art museum grounds.
While the oversized birdies are now a beloved icon of both the museum and the city, that wasn’t always the case. When they were installed in 1994, the reviews were mixed. Some Kansas Citizens felt they were fun and whimsical while others thought they were “not art” and a waste of money.
The artists found their inspiration for the sculptures by combining images of Native American headdresses featured in a painting on display in the museum and the tennis court feel of the green space surrounding the Beaux-Arts building. Husband and wife duo, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, constructed their pop art sculptures of aluminum and fiberglass-reinforced plastic. Although each shuttlecock weighs nearly 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilos) and is nearly 20 feet (6 meters) tall, they look as lightweight as an actual birdie. Look for the orange-tipped, white-feathered structures in everything from Instagram selfies to formal portraits as visitors and locals embrace the fanciful sculptures in their photos. From Sage of EverydayWanderer.com
Verity: Ilfracombe, Devon
Damien Hirst‘s 66 ft bronze sculpture ‘verity’ can be found in Ilfracombe, Devon. the statue depicts a naked pregnant woman with half of her body exposing ligaments and viscera while holding aloft a sword and standing on a base of legal books. the piece – with ‘verity’ meaning ‘truth’ in Italian – represents a ‘modern allegory of truth and justice’ and references hirst’s earlier bronze artwork ‘virgin mother’ from 2005.
Giant Vegreville Egg: Alberta, Canada
In the small town of Vegreville Alberta, there is a giant Ukrainian-style Easter egg which is extremely well known to locals of Alberta. The Easter egg was constructed to pay tribute to the large Ukrainian settlements in the Alberta region of Canada and also to the 1975 centennial of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
I think any time you drive by the Yellow Head highway (where the egg is near) you need to stop by for 10 minutes or so to check out the egg! Checking out interesting little town things as I roam around more rural areas and capturing it for my Instagram travels makes exploring that much more fun! From Jason of MintHabits
Penshaw Monument: Sunderland, England
Penshaw Monument stands on top of Penshaw Hill overlooking the city of Sunderland in northeast England. It looks like a Greek temple but dates from the mid-19th century. The folly is half the size of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens.
So why was it built? The landmark was constructed in memory of John Lambton, the first Earl of Durham. He was the first Governor of Canada and the author of an influential analysis document, the Report on the Affairs of British North America, more commonly known as the Durham Report, which helped shape the future of modern Canada.
Britain’s National Trust now manages Penshaw Monument. On summer weekends, visitors can pay to climb a spiral staircase inside one of the columns to view the surrounding landscape. From Stuart Forster of Go Eat Do
Monumento al Mate: Chile
One of the weirdest monuments we’ve ever seen traveling was Monumento al Mate – a monument, about 3m in height, representing a big hand with a mate cup. The sculpture is located in the small town of Coyhaique, Patagonia, Chile. The tradition of drinking mate is an important part of Chilean culture and was very popular in the 19th century among the Gauchos (Patagonian cowboys).
Mate is a herbal drink that people in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay drink from a mate cup (Matero) through a special metal straw (bombilla). The monument was placed there in honour of the first people (pioneers) that inhabited this rough region in the south of Chile. Campbell & Alya at Stingy Nomads
Giant Vimto Bottle: Manchester, UK
In the centre of Manchester, next to the University of Manchester buildings, is one of the UK’s weirdest monuments. It’s a giant wooden statue of a Vimto soft drink bottle, surrounded by enormous representations of the fruit and herbs that go into the drink.
Brightly painted, it’s a much-loved local landmark and has sat on the spot where Vimto was first invented since 1992.
Like more famous global drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Vimto has its roots in the temperance movement, and at one time there were Vimto “shops” around England’s North West as an alternative to pubs. The drink was invented in 1908 by a herbalist, and given the name “Vimtonic” as it was supposed to give the drinker “vim and vigor”. It’s still made in a factory not far from Manchester and although it’s most popular in the UK, Vimto is sold all over the world. From Helen at helenonherholidays
Darvaza the Gates of Hell: Turkemenistan
The more you travel the world, the more you see really weird monuments, statues or tourist attractions. A weird I saw is Darvaza, the gates of hell. What’s that!? A big hole in the middle of Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, with flames coming out of it Yep, it exists! How come? In 1971, geologists were looking for oil in the Karakum desert. At some point, they thought they find some, so they started drilling. But the ground was fragile, and it created a huge hole.
The hole was releasing a lot of methane, so the geologists decided to burn the methane. And what was supposed to burn for a few weeks, is still burning today! Very few people go to Turkmenistan but those who do, usually want to see Darvaza! A must-see in the country! from Roobens at Beenaroundtheglobe
Marfa, Parda: West Texas, USA
In the heart of the West Texas desert, where people wear a lot more cowboy boots than high heels, you’ll find a Prada storefront next to the highway.
This Marfa Prada art installation was built with the idea that it would naturally decay and eventually return to nature’s natural form. Meanwhile, though, this desert Prada is a road tripper’s dream pit stop. If you find yourself in this corner of Texas you cannot miss the chance to stop for a photo here, even Beyonce has visited!
It’s a short drive from the nearby quirky artist’s oasis town of Marfa, hence the name Marfa Prada. In response to a previous robbery, the storefront houses only right-footed shoes and bottomless purses. Insects litter the floor and dust covers the shelves, as nature does indeed attempt to reclaim this tiny patch of desert land. From Erin at Solsalute
The Fremont Troll: Seattle USA
The Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge is known to all who live in Seattle and the PNW but it has become a tourist destination for people around the world! It was finished on Halloween in 1990 as a collaborative piece of art that encourages people to climb on it which isn’t normal for most art installations. Every year on Halloween the troll is celebrated by the community with a “Troll-o-ween” party. The party starts at the troll and wanders around visiting other weird sights in the Fremont neighborhood and beyond.
The troll has had some weird happenings throughout the years as well as a lot of graffiti and sometimes covered in trash or brush because of the location. What might be most interesting about the troll is that he is crushing a VW Beetle that used to have a California license plate (stolen). The car was a protest to all those outsiders that were changing the very fabric of Seattle. It also commemorated the fact that ever since the bridge was installed the locals reported seeing trolls. During that time the trolls were seen as bad but now they are celebrated including a Fremont Troll Facebook page. From Melissa at RouxRoamer
The Largest Ball of Twine: Minnesota, USA
The Largest Ball of Twine Rolled By One Man is nestled in downtown Darwin, Minnesota, with a booming population of 350. The Darwin Twine Ball began in 1950, was created solely by Francis A. Johnson.
He would diligently roll twine for four hours a day for the next 29 years. Johnson passed away but the town honoured his legacy by housing the 12-foot-wide, twine ball next to the town’s water tower.
There’s a rivalry between Cawker City, Kansas, and Darwin because both claim to be homes to the Largest Balls of Twine. Darwin residents assure that their twine ball is the best and has a more important legacy because the 9-ton ball was all rolled by one man.
Darwin’s Twine Ball is still an essential part of the town’s identity and is celebrated every August in the citywide festival Twine Ball Days. Nearby the city has erected a museum in the oddities glory that detail the life of Francis A. Johnson and his marvelous creation. from Martha at quirkyglobetrotter.com
Jackie Chan Film Gallery: Shanghai
Jackie Chan (JC) spent almost 58 years in the movie industry and is a well-known name across Globe. Be it action, comedy, or drama, every domain of acting was perfected by him. He is probably the most popular artist of the East in the west part of the world.
Finally, to offer their millions of fans a glimpse inside the making of a megastar, they decided to roll out JC’s life journey through “JC FILM Gallery”. It took almost 5 years to design and develop and was inaugurated on the 60th Birthday of Jackie in 2013. Honestly, we were totally blown up with the detailing and designing aspects of it.
Inside the gallery each sector, every figure & prop has its own little story to tell. Even the ticket office is designed like a truck crashing through the side of the building. They have tried to recreate the setup used in actual film shooting including Drunken Master, Police Story, the Myth, Rush Hour, and many more. It raises the expectations & announces that inside the Gallery would be a kung fu kicking roller coaster of a ride through Jackie’s film career.
from Chandresh Jain at Familyonthewheels
Studio City: Macau
Macau has been nicknamed ‘Vegas of the East’ as it’s where the wealthy in Asia go to play. And just like its American counterpart, there are casinos at every turn from the uber-kitsch to the glamorously luxurious.
One of the latest casino resorts to open on Macau’s Cotai Strip is flashy Studio City. The scale of this gigantic hotel complex is vast with 30 dining outlets, 1,600 rooms, a 4D flight simulator, a Warner Bros-themed children’s area, and even a beach! Yet the most outstanding site on the megastructure is its figure-eight Ferris wheel that’s built into its facade, 130 meters above the ground, called the Golden Reel. The number eight in Chinese culture (ba) sounds similar to wealth, fortune, or prosperity (fa) and is considered the luckiest number of them all.
The hotel has gone one step further and concocted a Hollywood-inspired saga to explain the occurrence of the two circles. They say that two flaming asteroids came crashing through the building in unison to create the two golden rings. As the hotel has a film and gaming focus, the story fits well. Go check it out and have a fun ride with spectacular views of the city. From Mar Pages Once in a Lifetime Journey.
Santa Claus: Rotterdam Netherlands
One of the strangest statues that I’ve ever seen is the statue by Paul McCartney called Santa Claus. This weird statue depicts a Santa Claus-like figure holding a large dildo. Needless to say, the statue has been controversial.
After a period of being hidden in the courtyard of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen at the request of the city council, this quirky statue now sits in public view in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Needless to say, it’s always a conversation piece that makes people laugh and has become a favourite of locals. You can find him in the centre of Eendrachtsplein on your next visit. From Karen at Wanderlustingk
Peeing statues: Prague
Prague is a city with life and a counter-culture history that goes beyond being a tourist draw. Just off the main tourist flow from Prague’s Old Town Square up to the castle is a museum to Franz Kafka where, in the courtyard, you’ll find two unique statues by the provocative Czech artist David Černý.
These statues are fountains in the usual sort where water is peed from the sculpted figures into a pool. Sure, peeing into a pool shaped like the country of Czechia is odd, but the unique thing is that the statues move at the waist and spell out literary quotes in the pool. Beyond this, you can even send things for them to spell via text message.
This totally fits with the more quirky artistic side of Prague that can get lost among the tourist hordes and pretty gothic spires. Being art, I expect you can interpret it as you’d like. Are they politicians pissing on the country or tourists doing the same? Or just drunks enjoying a night on the town? From Andy at TravelmadeSimple
The Crown Fountain: Chicago
The Crown Fountain is one of the many unique sculptures in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and perhaps my favourite. It features two giant pillars with video screens that project the faces of local residents. Near the mouth area, there are fountains that spout water onto visitors. So, you may be standing there wondering what these giant faces are when you’re surprised with a shower of water!
The project is great because it fosters community interaction, gives people a gathering place on hot days, and showcases the diversity of local residents by featuring their faces on the videos as part of the sculpture. From Renee at Renee theWandress
Man at Work: Slovakia
Smack bang in the centre of Slovakia’s capital, you will find a friendly piece called Man at Work. The statue, which depicts a workman peering out from a manhole, is commonly called “Čumil” by locals, which roughly translates to “watcher”. He represents the life of a simple communist-era street laborer, with little work ethic and plenty of smiles, happily watching Bratislava pass him by. Having twice lost his head due to careless drivers, Čumil now has his very own road sign just above him.
Man at Work was created by Viktor Hulík and is one of four pieces commissioned in 1997 to celebrate Slovakia’s independence. All four pieces can be found within one mile of Slovakia’s most popular castle, Bratislavský hrad. From Alan at MorePassportstamps
Durian Statue: Kampot, Cambodia
On arriving in Cambodia’s sleepy riverside town of Kampot you’ll likely be surprised to see a huge durian statue in the middle of the town centre roundabout. There is however a very good reason behind this weird monument of the world’s stinkiest fruit. Along with its famous Kampot Pepper, Kampot is also famed for its durian.
The locals lives used to centre around durian, that was until the 1960’s when many durian orchards were burned by the Khmer Rouge to make way for rice paddies. Nowadays, however, Kampot is once again famous for durian farms and the locally grown fruits are renowned as being amongst the world’s best.
During durian season in May to July, you’ll find the local markets full of this fruit and for the die-hard fans (you either love it or hate it) there’s also durian ice-cream sticky rice with durian and coconut milk and durian crisps. So as you can see it’s no wonder this fruit has been honoured with its very own statue. From Tanya at Can Travel Will Travel
Mafalda: Buenos Aires Argentina
In the San Telmo area of Buenos, you will see a constant line of people waiting to have their photo taken sitting on a bench next to a statue of Mafalda. “Who is Mafalda?”, you ask. She is a six-year-old Argentinian comic strip character from the 1960s.
The comic strip, drawn by Quino, ran from 1964 to 1973, but Mafalda has since become a cult character in Buenos Aires. You can buy T-shirts, mugs, and lunch boxes and even see street art with her image. She reflects the Argentinian middle class and progressive youth. Her questioning and inquisitive nature, her constant challenging of the status quo, her adult-like pessimism, and her concern for humanity and world peace are timeless and strike a chord just as much today as they did several decades ago. James Ian at Travel Collecting
Penis-shaped rock: Algarve, Portugal
I’ve been to the tiny town of Lagos in the Algarve, Portugal on three separate visits, but it wasn’t until the most recent trip that I visited the 17th-century maritime fortress, Forte da Ponta da Bandeira (a.k.a Ponta da Bandeira Fort).
Today, the museum is used to house artifacts from Portuguese discoveries. The entrance costs 2 euros per person, but it’s well worth it for a look around.
While visiting Ponta da Bandeira Fort, we saw everything from an enormous old anchor and model ships, to a 17th-century chapel and an art installation made from wind chimes.
Oh, and a large, tall stone that looked like a penis! This risqué structure erected (excuse the pun) in a small courtyard within Ponta da Madeira Fort is believed to store phallic energy, and touching the status is said to improve fertility. From Kacie at TheRareWelshbit
Bronze Breast: Amsterdam
The artist is unknown, but the choice of the place is undoubtedly well-known worldwide. Or should I say “infamous worldwide”? Um, both actually. The bronze breast being caressed by what seems to be a male hand lies among the cobblestones in the Red Light District.
To be more specific, it lies between the sex workers and Amsterdam’s oldest church. A mix of sin and virtue? Does the piece honour sex workers or is it a sexist piece? Well, I will leave it up to you.
Either way, the doctor, who designed this artwork in his (or her) free time, chose to remain anonymous. But while wandering through the streets of this liberal area, be sure to look for some Easter Eggs like this one. You might surprise yourself. From Bruna at Maps ‘N Bags
Qutb India is situated in Delhi, India, and was built during the Mughal reign. The monument is the largest in India and the highest in terms of dimensions and length. The weird thing about this monument is that you cannot touch your hands on the pillar if you try embracing it with both arms. There will be some gap left between your both arms so no one in this world has been able to touch both hands on this pillar monument and hold it tight.
The monument is located at a distance from New Delhi from where one can get winsome views of the city and adjoining. The monument was built by the workers during the Mughal empire and stands tall even today and is one of the heritage sites of the country that makes the country proud of its architectural glory and importance.
There are Metro stations operating in the regions that serve as an important means of communication between the city premises. Tourists come from all around the world to view its glory and magnificence which has caught the attention of architects around the world to catch sight of its beauty and popularity over the years. From Somnath at Travel Crusade
Haw Par Villa: Singapore
When the Aw brothers of Tiger Balm fame built a mansion in Singapore, they commissioned sculptures and dioramas to illustrate Chinese folk tales and values. The local tourism authorities added more when the compound became public property, turning it into a theme park called Haw Par Villa.
For the outsider to Chinese culture, it’s utterly bizarre. Half-human ghouls guard the entrance to the Ten Courts of Hell, which depicts the torments that await in hell in graphic detail. Elsewhere, among other values, piety is shown through the sculpture of a woman breastfeeding her elderly father. The polychrome only adds to the sense of kitsch. Is it suitable for families? Well, parents often edified their children by bringing them here…
At the moment, Har Par Villa is undergoing some renovations and will reopen in February 2019. When that happens, it’s worth a look, once you’re done with the major sights in Singapore. Admission is free and it’s right next to the eponymous MRT station. From Nicholas at Rambling Feet
Alexander the Great statue: Skopje, Macedonia
A colossal 24-meter-high bronzed equestrian statue of Alexander the Great holds pride of place in the centre of Macedonia Square in Skopje, Macedonia. Seen as the crowning piece of a massive government-sponsored revamp of the city, this statue of dizzying heights is best viewed at night when a spectacular laser show changes the statue into a rainbow of colours and patterns.
At the mind-blowing cost of 8 million euros, the statue has been a point of major government criticism in this relatively poor country. The Statue has also infuriated Greece who claims that Alexander is exclusively part of the Hellenic heritage. In fact, Greece used the statute to block Macedonia’s bid to join NATO and the EU, stating that they were trying to steal its culture. From Jeanne at Learning to Breathe Abroad
Joseph Stalin Monument & Museum: Russia
One of Georgia’s tourist attractions is the Josef Stalin museum. You may think that Stalin is from Russia, but his birthplace is Gori, Georgia. Despite being his birthplace, it is weird having a museum dedicated to a dictator that is responsible for the death of millions of people.
The museum has a Soviet design and is divided into 3 spaces, the museum, Josef Stalin house, and Stalin’s railway carriage. In the museum, you will find documents and objects related to Stalin’s life and work. On the outside of the museum is Stalin’s house, a small wooden hut that is still in its original place. It is not possible to enter the house. And lastly, Stalin’s railway carriage, as Stalin didn’t like to fly he travels by train, and on the museum, you can enter his train wagon.
Although you can visit the museum on your own, we strongly advise you to go with a guide, as everything is in Georgian you won’t understand anything. The museum organizes guided tours, the guide explains the images and other documents exposed in the room.
The museum is a place of worship of Stalin, it doesn’t show us the whole picture of Stalin’s life. It is a weird place. From Jorge at Travel Drafts
Manneken Pis: Belgium
Manneken Pis, aka the Peeing Boy Statue, in Brussels, is one of the city’s top monuments and one of the many things that Belgium is famous for. It was erected almost 400 years ago in the 1600s and attracts thousands of tourists a year. At only 61cm tall, it can be rather underwhelming and has frequently been named the most disappointing monument in Europe!
Funnily enough, this little statue is not just a tourist attraction but a statue celebrated by Belgium in the city annually. The statue is dressed up in different costumes for each notable occasion on the Belgium calendar. Yep, that means a peeing boy in a Santa costume!
The origins of the statue are not known but there are a few popular stories that circulate. One is that a father donated it to the city after some citizens helped him find his lost son. Another is that a boy once put out explosives set to bomb the city by urinating on them and he was immortalized in this bronze statue. Which do you believe? From Laura at What’s Hot Blog
“El Beso” (The Kiss): Lima, Perú
One of the most popular attractions in Lima, Perú is found in its most popular district, Miraflores. “El Beso” or The Kiss is a large 39 x 9-foot sculpture found in El Parque del Amor (Love Park). It depicts a kissing couple in love.
Peruvian artist Víctor Delfín dedicated his masterpiece to love and subsequently, many newlyweds flock to the sculpture in their wedding attire to seal their marriage with a kiss!
Fittingly enough, El Beso debuted on February 14, 1993, and each year on Valentine’s Day, thousands of people gather around the statue and there is a “Longest Kiss” competition that takes place for the couples in attendance! From Heather at Trimm Travels
The World’s Largest Rubber Stamp: Cleveland USA
The Free Stamp, also known as the world’s largest rubber stamp, is a sculpture located in the middle of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Aside from just being a cool-looking sculpture, the Free Stamp is also a great way to commemorate American history.
The stamp was commissioned by Standard Oil of Ohio (now BP) in 1982 and was designed by Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje van Bruggen.
Originally the stamp was to stand upright with the words hidden however Oldenburg wanted the message “Free,” representing the emancipation of American slaves during and after the Civil War to be visible.
The stamp was also supposed to sit in front of the new Standard Oil of Ohio building however after BP purchased the company they didn’t want the stamp in front of their BP Tower. BP donated the sculpture to the city of Cleveland in 1991 and it has been located in Willard Park ever since. From Constance at The Adventures of Panda Bear
Salvador Dali’s Diving Helmet: Uffington UK
Not far from the White Horse of Uffington, a chalk figure that dominates the hills in Oxfordshire, England, you’ll find the market town of Faringdon. This Fair Trade town has all kinds of things to commend it, including a book exchange in a bright red phone box, a church tower with a massive history from the English Civil War, and even the most spectacular folly, a tower on a hill that’s well worth exploring. You should, of course, do as requested and not feed the giraffes while you’re there.
But in the centre of town, you’ll find something truly curious. Like Faringdon Folly, it’s the result of the eccentric genius of Lord Berners, a writer, artist, and musician who kept an arty salon at his nearby home. Among his regular visitors was Salvador Dali, and a bench in the town centre commemorates a bet between the two.
The forfeit? Salvador Dali was required to walk from Berners’ home to the town in full diving gear. The marvelous diving helmet now emerges unexpectedly from a seating area that bears the inscription ‘Mistrust a man who never has an occasional flash of silliness’. It’s just one of the many reasons Faringdon is well worth a detour. From Bernadette at A Packed Life
The Kissing Sailor: San Diego USA
If you’re interested in seeing a famous smooch immortalized in bronze, head to San Diego! That’s where you’ll find Unconditional Surrender, a recreation of the famous Life magazine photograph depicting a kiss between a sailor and a nurse in Times Square after World War II.
A handful of these “kissing sailor” statues by artist Seward Johnson have been installed in cities around the world, but the most famous may be the one in the Port of San Diego. For more than a decade, a version of this statue has stood in Tuna Harbor Park near the USS Midway Museum.
The current sculpture, 25 feet tall and made of bronze, was installed in 2013 as a replacement for the initial foam-urethane model. This piece continues to draw lots of attention from tourists as a quirky monument to a famous moment in American history.
Charging Bull: New York
Charging bull is a sculpture made of bronze and is located in the financial district in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is quite famous on Wall Street where tourists gather around it and take selfies. Before visiting this place I had no idea about its quirky demeanor and how tourists are more interested in clicking the pics with its rear end than the front.
Apparently, for many years, the tradition to touch the bull’s bronze scrotum has caught on with the tourists and it is believed that touching it brings the person, a stroke of good luck in the future. So if you think you are behind on the quota of good luck, go for it.
For me personally, it was funny to capture other people’s pictures while doing so and I would definitely recommend the readers to visit and have fun in its vicinity. This was my first time seeing something with that much quirk and attention. From Kimaya of Homospien in Transit
Blue Whale of Catoosa: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Route 66 is known for its kitschy roadside attractions, and one of the most popular is the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Located east of Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was originally built as a surprise anniversary gift. Zelta Davis collected whale figurines, so her husband, Hugh, thought she might like a giant one of her very own. It quickly became a popular swimming hole for friends and family. The couple began adding attractions to Blue, including a petting zoo and reptiles, eventually calling it the Animal Reptile Kingdom.
After many years interest waned, and by 1988 the now-elderly couple could no longer maintain the property. For many years it was neglected, but in the early 2000s their son revitalized interest in the Blue Whale. There’s now a community that repaints the structure and hosts an annual fundraiser. There’s also a souvenir stand on-site, so you can take a little bit of Blue home with you. From Theresa of The Local Tourist
The Wawa Goose: Ontario Canada
If you’re looking to take a “gander” at a pretty large roadside bird, head to Wawa, Ontario to snap your photo with the famous “Wawa Goose”! Originally completed in the 1960s, this giant Canada goose statue was erected to commemorate the long-awaited connection of two major highways. In addition, the town folk wanted to get visitors to stop to spend a bit of money in the town!
Sure enough, decades later the Wawa Goose has stopped millions of tourists for a classic photograph under its winged stance. The original was actually created out of plaster but the current version is made of steel – a nod to the town’s history of iron ore mining. So, if you’re passing through parts of northern Ontario, Canada be sure to stop and see the goose! from Eric and Lisa of Ontario Away
Bruce Lee a symbol of peace: Mostar, Yugoslavia
Hidden away in Zrinjski Park within walking distance of the Old Town of Mostar, is a statue of Bruce Lee. To many, it may just be another statue erected to Hollywood star however the background story gives a whole new insight into how it got there.
During the Communist era of Yugoslavia, mainstream Hollywood films were banned. However, in the early 80s, the growth of the video cassette led to an underground upsurge in black market pirated films making their way around Yugoslavia. This saw Bruce Lee become a cult hero along with king fu movies and many remember him in a positive way.
After the Balkan Wars in the 90s, the people of Mostar wanted a Peace Monument to help the ex-Yugoslavian states move forward. While people like Gandhi and the Pope were submitted as possible subjects, however, Bruce Lee became the chosen uniting peace symbol. Unveiled in 2005 the statue was the first in the world of him so while the Balkan states may have their differences, the joint memories of a time when Bruce Lee was king has a uniting element for all. From Ron and Michele of Legging It
Paper Bag: Adelaide Australia
On the main boulevard in Adelaide, South Australia, amongst the formal statues of men on horses, kings, and queens, and the heads of noteworthy people is this unusual sculpture of a paper bag. On the plaque next to it, there is little mention of its history or purpose, just that the artwork is called “Paper Bag”.
It is by Michelle Nikou and is part of the Adelaide City Bike Art Trail. Thousands of people walk past this unassuming piece of artwork each day, and most of them probably don’t even notice it. Those that do, must surely wonder how and why this sculpture came to be in such a position of prominence – just like I do. From Josie at Josie Wanders
The Unusual in Prague: Czech Republic
Prague is a beautiful fairytale city to visit, but beware there are a few strange and unusual things to see. For example, this Upside Down Dead Horse ridden by King Wenceslas. It is in the Lucerna Palace arcade off Wenceslas Square. Prague-born artist Mr. David Černý designed it. Mr. Cerny has done several unusual sculptures including the one for the London Olympics, a double-decker bus with arms.
The king was born in 907, and he was referred to as the “Good King Wenceslas.” He was given the title of king posthumously and later became the patron saint of the Czech Republic.
Wenceslas Square is a must-visit and wander area of Prague. At one end in front of the National Museum is another sculpture of King Wenceslas riding a right-side-up horse. It is a very popular statue to photograph, especially at sunset. From Cynthia at Blue Bag Nomads
Girl on a Rooster: Havana, Cuba
One of the strangest monuments I’ve ever seen is the Girl on Rooster statue by Roberto Fabelo. This unique statue stands in the middle of Plaza Vieja, a large recently renovated plaza in Old Havana, Cuba.
I have heard many different explanations for this statue. One is that it portrays a dream after a night of revelry. Another is that it represents nothing at all, just the artist’s wandering mind and hands. Whatever the explanation, it is certainly unusual and a conversation piece.
The square where this statue is found is called Plaza Vieja or Old Square. It is the site of the ancient slave market in Havana. Today this colonial square has been renovated to resemble what the plaza looked like during colonial times.
Plaza Vieja is now a major tourist draw surrounded by little restaurants and cafeterias on all sides. There is a pretty good brewery on one end and a wonderful ice cream vendor on another. Best of all, there is music playing at all the restaurants. It is definitely worth a visit. From Talek at Travels with Talek
Wooden Scooter: Congo, Africa
Not only great men and women are the ones that have the honour of being the subject of a monument. Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has a unique monument that might surprise you. It is a monument dedicated to the Chukudu, a wooden scooter that and looks like something straight out of the Flinstones era.
These very rudimentary and oftentimes homemade scooters can sometimes carry up to 1300 pounds of cargo! They have a base where people can use to transport heavy loads or use as transportation for themselves. It has been described as the “pick up truck of Congo” and are a symbol of ingenuity, hard work, and helping people get out of poverty.
With a Chukudu, people can earn up to $10 a day in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day. This combined with them becoming a sensation proved enough to get these scooters their own monument! From Alejandro of Please Live Your Dream
Carhenge: Nebraska U.S.A
Stonehenge is one of the most coveted places to visit in the world. But move over Stonehenge, there’s another unexpected and equally strange monument: CARHENGE!
Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Somewhere in the middle of America (literally, smack dab in the middle of the US in the state of Nebraska) is the monument that almost perfectly resembles the ancient Stonehenge, but instead of rock and stone, it is made from grey spray-painted vintage cars! It includes all 38 original structures that the real Stonehenge has and is almost the perfect size as well.
What started as a quirky monument to the artist’s father has become a fun pit stop for road trippers across the US and a great way to bring more travellers and tourists to the often overlooked state of Nebraska. From LeAnna at Well Traveled Nebraskan
These massive Kelpies are actually the largest equine statues in the world, at around 30 meters tall and weighing 300 tonnes. Kelpies are mythological beasts that transform and have the endurance of 10 horses, and they represent the changing landscape, the endurance of the inland waterways, and the strength of the community. They are located in Falkirk around an hour from Edinburgh.
Sculptor Andy Scott designed the Kelpies to look like Clydesdale horses which used to pull the barges along the Forth and Clyde Canal, where the sculptures now stand. Locals have fallen in love with these beauties and they are proving popular with tourists, especially when lit up colourfully at night. From Nicola at Funky Ellas Travel
Jeju Loveland: Korea
Has anyone heard of Jeju Loveland in Korea? Loveland is the #1 Most Bizarre Park in the World. Ranging from the erotic to the simply weird and strange this sculpture theme park is based on sensuality and eroticism. The spacious park (39,667 m²) is home to over 140 sculptures (40 within the gallery and 100 outside). The park as a whole looks like a piece of land art.
Jeju Loveland is open every day and it usually takes 30-40 minutes to look around the park. Jeju Loveland houses a glass-dome restaurant, an outdoor café, an art shop, and various works which visitors can touch. Jeju Loveland is an attractive place where eroticism is approached in an artistic and witty manner.
I’m sure we haven’t even begun to see all of the world’s strangest art. It seems that artists are creating these masterpieces all over the world and it’s fascinating to see what comes out of their artistic minds.
Have you seen some phenomenally strange art? If you have let us know and send us a photo of it.