*From the Miller County Liberal, November 3, 2010
The agricultural icon mural was painted by one artist, Charlie Johnston. Charlie was chosen after a call of artist went our internationally and was picked to relocate to Colquitt, Georgia from British Columbia, Canada while the project was underway. He personally cleaned the silo, treated it, and painted it with a standard paint roller.
As far as we can determine at this time, one of the largest hand painted murals in the U.S.A. has been dedicated right here in Colquitt, Georgia. The 27,000 square foot structure is owned by Birdsong Peanut Company and is used to store peanuts.On Friday, October 29, 2010, the First Mural City of the State of Georgia dedicated the Agricultural Icon Mural located just off of Main Street, and on Second Street. The dedication ceremony came toward the end of the three day Global Mural Conference held in Colquitt. The dedication event was held directly behind Cotton Hall.
Jennifer P. Trawick, Executive Director of the Colquitt/Miller Arts Council opened the program and said, “I would like to welcome you here today on behalf of the Colquitt/ Miller Arts Council to the dedication and celebration of the Icon to Agriculture Mural. It has been my pleasure and the residents of Colquitt to host the 2010 Global Mural Conference this week. We have thoroughly enjoyed our guests.”
She told of how all of our murals tell a story, and how this mural tells the story of the American farmer being tied to the land, not to earn a living but as a way of life. With the sun beating down on his back, the farmer’s face reveals his struggles year after year. The deep crease in his forehead are the years that it didn’t rain.
The lines around his eyes tell of the year that he had to mortgage another piece of land just to survive. The wrinkles around his mouth tells of his sadness as he watched his neighbor lose his farm to hard economic times. If you look closely, you can see the light in the farmer’s eyes. When he sees his crops, it reminded him of all of the good that he has sown. The family that he has raised and the friends who showed up when his crops needed picking because bad weather was on its way. It is no accident that on this mural, the farmer is growing peanuts. When the boll weevil wiped out the cotton crops across the South, Dr. George Washington Carver showed us the profitability of the peanut, and so, it became the staple crop of South Georgia farms. As our farmer pulls up his peanuts to inspect his future, his weathered hands hold the wisdom of years working the land. He can tell by his touch if his crops are dry, if they need to be sprayed, if it is time to harvest or if they should wait another three days. But his hands also hold something less tangible. They hold the knowledge that he did not and could not have done this alone. Yes, there is the satisfaction that he broke the ground and sowed the seeds, but being a part of something bigger satisfies his very soul. As the elements of nature take over and the crops began to sprout, the farmer knows that he is God’s chosen caretaker and the farm is a way of life, his way of life.
Before the farmer, man roamed the earth feeding himself by hunting game, but when he began planting crops he forever tied himself to the land and created a place called home, and we call that home, Colquitt, Ga.
The mural is painted on working peanut storage silos. They are owned and operated by the Southeast Division of Birdsong Peanut Company, who graciously lit the mural at night in honor of Mr. Birdsong.
Watch a video of this mural process by clicking here!