Statues have been used as a form of art and cultural expression for centuries, with many iconic pieces scattered across the world. However, there are also many unusual and weird statues that defy convention and leave viewers scratching their heads. Next we’ll explore some of the most bizarre statues from around the world, each with its unique backstory and meaning.
1. Headington Shark, Oxford, UK (1986)
This sculpture depicts a shark that appears to be diving into a roof in the middle of a residential area. Created by artist John Buckley, the sculpture is a piece of protest art, representing the moment when a bomb fell on the house during World War II.
2. Manneken Pis – Peeing Boy, Brussels, Belgium (1618)
A famous small bronze fountain portraying a naked boy urinating into a basin. It has become a symbol of Brussels and is dressed in various costumes throughout the year. The meaning behind it? The sculpture is “embodying the calm temperament and spirit of resistance of the people of Brussels.”
3. The Knotted Gun, New York City, USA (1980)
Also known as “Non-Violence”, this is a bronze revolver with its barrel knotted into a knot, created by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. It was dedicated to Reuterswärd’s friend, John Lennon, who was killed by a gun in 1980.
4. Bird in Space, Paris, France (1923)
Created by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, this sculpture depicts a bird in flight. It is said to represent the idea of flight and freedom.
5. The Kindlifresserbrunnen – Fountain of the Eater of Little Children, Bern, Switzerland (1545-1546)
So, we have a giant stone fountain by Hans Gieng, portraying a giant in the process of eating a baby while also having a sack stuffed with other babies, future meals perhaps… Apparently this is a monument to Kronos, the titan that ate several of his children in order to stop them from dethroning him. Talk about weird statues.
6. Angel of the North, Gateshead, UK (1998)
A contemporary sculpture created by Antony Gormley, this massive steel sculpture depicts a giant angel with outstretched wings. The Gateshead local council decided that this is their way of remembering the hardship coal miners had to go through, making the transition from the industrial to the information age and a beacon of hope.
7. Giant Clothespin, Philadelphia, USA (1976)
Created by artist Claes Oldenburg, this sculpture is a giant clothespin made of steel. Strongly influenced by The Kiss (1916), a sculpture by Constantin Brancusi, the spring was designed to resemble “76”, the sculpture being a symbol for closeness and unity.
8. Podobenství s Lebkou – Parable With Skull, Prague, Czech Republic (1993)
Jaroslav Róna’s work was based on Franz Kafka’s short story, The Bucket Rider. It’s a bronze sculpture of a beggar with a large skull sitting on top of him, symbolizing an existential riddle.
9. Walking to the Sky, Pittsburgh, USA (2006)
Jonathan Borofsky’s, this 100-foot tall stainless steel sculpture depicts a group of people walking up a giant pole towards the sky. Inspired by a story his father used to recreate for him, a story about a friendly giant who lived in the sky, in each instance of the tale they would both travel to the sky as they tried to talk to the giant about what had to be done for all the people on earth.
10. The Venus de Milo with Drawers, Paris, France (1946)
11. The Fork, Vevey, Switzerland (1995)
A giant stainless steel fork on the shore of Lake Geneva, all to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Alimentarium, a local food-themed museum.
12. Les Trois Grâces – Three Graces, Washington, DC, USA (1999)
This sculpture consists of three brightly colored sculptures of women. They were created by artist Niki de Saint Phalle and they’re meant to celebrate femininity and grace.
13. Mano del Desierto – Hand of the Desert, Atacama Desert, Chile (1992)
This sculpture is a giant hand emerging from the sands of the Atacama Desert. It was created by artist Mario Irarrázabal and it’s meant to symbolize the human condition of vulnerability and helplessness.
14. The Crawling Babies at Kampa Park, Prague, Czech Republic (2000)
Three giant, faceless babies with what looks like barcodes instead of facial expressions, all crawling. If you just happen to be in the area and have no idea these statues are there, you will be left speechless. The meaning behind all this? David Cerny left us all to speculate.
15. Viaje Fantástico – Fantastic Trip, Havana, Cuba (2012)
The work of Roberto Fabelo, this is yet another statue that has zero context to it, allowing people all over the world to speculate. Is it a lowbrow tribute to prostitution, a practice with a long history in Cuba? Is it perhaps a sort of feminism movement, symbolizing how women can conquer wherever they set their mind to?
16. The Planet – Floating Baby, Marina Park, Singapore (2013)
Marc Quinn, famous for his statue “Alison Lapper Pregnant” is the genius behind this one. This one is a replica of Quinn’s own son and it’s a seven ton white bronze and steel sculpture.
17. De Vaartkapoen – Channel Rascal, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Belgium (1985)
Created by Tom Frantzen, this funny sculpture was inspired by the work of Hergé, the creator of Tintin, and it was meant to symbolize the struggle with stubborn and power-crazy individuals.
18. Les Voyageurs – The Travelers, Marseille, France (2013)
French artist Bruno Catalano created ten life-size statues of people with big portions of their bodies missing. Put on display to celebrate Marseille’s nomination as the 2013 European Capital of Culture, these statues are a statement, they “serve as a visual depiction of the disruption caused by migration.”
19. Der Hase – The Hare, Nuremberg, Germany (1984)
Created by the German sculptor Juergen Goertz, this is a horrifying giant bunny that seems to have smashed open a wooden box with a human hand peeking from under its gross belly. This is a tribute to Albrecht Dürer, being inspired by his popular Feldhase (A Young Hare). Not a statue to visit if you’re traveling with kids, though. It’s one of those weird statues that might give some people nightmares.
20. Zavěšený muž – Man Hanging out, Prague, Czech Republic (1996)
A representation of Freud’s phobias, is another piece from the talented David Cerny. Unknowing tourists will almost immediately think someone is about to commit suicide only to discover it’s just art #poorsouls
21. The Merlion, One Fullerton, Singapore (1972)
This sculpture is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It was created by sculptor Lim Nang Seng and it’s meant to symbolize Singapore’s history as a fishing village and a center of commerce.
Whether it’s a giant hand in the middle of a desert or crawling faceless babies, weird statues have a way of capturing our imagination and making us question what we know about art and beauty. From the strange and surreal to the downright bizarre, these statues remind us that art comes in all shapes and forms, and that sometimes it’s the weirdest pieces that leave the most lasting impression, despite not being a very pleasant one.
Recommended reading next: Weirdest buildings in the world.
What is the most powerful statue?
“David” created by Michelangelo is perhaps the most powerful and known statue ever created. The 14 feet tall statue is a representation of David before his battle with Goliath.
What is the weird statue in Finland?
It’s actually a sculpture park created by Veijo Rönkkönen, with 200 statues in different yoga positions and other pieces of folk art. You’ll find plenty of weird statues here.
What is the tallest statue of Jesus?
Christ the Protector, from Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) is at 37.5 meters (or 123 feet) the tallest statue of Jesus. This is without taking into account the pedestals. It was completed in April 2022.