The 20-foot statue of a Native American standing in front of the Houston-Love Memorial Public Library was a gift from skilled wood sculptor, Peter Toth. The landmark is an homage to Alabama’s Native American cultures. When passersby first see the majestic statue called the “Whispering Giant,” many are surprised to learn that the beautiful piece of art was created by a Hungarian immigrant.
A Vast Number of Sculptures
The Whispering Giant is just one in a series of 74 different sculptures that make up the Trail of the Whispering Giants, a collection of enormous sculptures created by Toth. When Toth started working on his Trail of Whispering Giants, he wanted to honor each state’s Native American culture in a completely unique sculpture of a Native American. He eventually completed his goal in 1988.
When he traveled to Alabama to complete that part of his Whispering Giant project, he chose to gift the Houston-Love Memorial Public Library with the statue. The only thing he required was the giant oak log that he used to carve the landmark. The final result was titled Mus-Quoian, which was dedicated to the library in 1972. The Lazy Daisy Garden Club proudly maintains the landscaping around the sculpture.
A re-dedication ceremony was held in 1987.
Authentic Expression in Art
People who stop and look at the Mus-Quoian landmark are struck by the subject’s serious expression. The reason for the grim look was because Toth has dedicated his entire artistic career to capturing the injustice the Native American tribes suffered at the hands of the American government. He wanted everyone who gazed upon its face to be moved, to feel the uncertainty, fear and sadness that the members of the various Native American Nation felt. The hope is that by doing that, steps will be taken to prevent something similar from ever happening again.
After carving the statue, Toth leaves the care of the statues in the hands of others. He has expressed pleasure in how well the Mus-Quoian sculpture has been maintained and readily offers advice about what can be done to keep it in good shape.
It’s impossible for photos to truly capture just how beautiful and moving the Mus-Quoian sculpture really is. The best way to appreciate it is by taking the time to swing by the library and checking it out first hand. You will certainly be glad you did.