Friday, August 21st 2009
Event Name:
11:00 am - Peter Toth’s 1977 “Whispering Giant” Sculpture to be Re-dedicated
Event Description:
The public is cordially invited to a re-dedication ceremony and reception for international sculptor Peter Wolf Toth’s Wisconsin “Whispering Giant” monument, located next to Hayward’s Sherman & Ruth Weiss Community Library on Highway 77. Re-dedication of the 32-year-old sculpture will take place Friday August 21 at 11 a.m. on library grounds.

Toth originally was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” In 1971 he began his mission to create statues in each of the United States, Canada and Europe. Called “Whispering Giants,” the lofty sculptures stand 20 to 40 feet tall. They represent a composite of the indigenous Indian people of each state, as seen through the eyes of the artist. Toth hopes in particular that through these monuments people will learn about the history of Native Americans, their struggles and their significant contributions in the U.S. and worldwide. Overall, his work chronicles the epic struggle of all humankind when faced with injustice, tyranny and inhumanity.

Toth himself has experienced injustice. One of 11 children, he was born in 1947 behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary. When he was quite young, his family lost their farmland to the Communist regime. Then in 1956 Toth witnessed the Bloody Uprising when Russian military massacred Hungarian Freedom Fighters and civilians. For two years Toth and his family lived in refugee camps throughout Europe. In 1958, they settled in Akron, Ohio where he attended public schools and ultimately the University of Akron.

Toth’s sculptures at times have been misunderstood. He is quick to point out they are not totems. He explains that his work “…transcends the individual concepts of art, history, politics or religion.” Former library board president Ray Moeller has been one of the artist’s local champions, orchestrating the statue’s move from its original home behind the former Carnegie Library to the new library. Recognizing the historical importance of the Whispering Giant, Moeller and the Library Board, Library Team members, Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce director Kevin Ruetten and volunteers are working with Toth to preserve the statue.

Toth completed his latest Whispering Giant in June 2008. The first on the European continent, the statue is located along the Danube River in Hungary and honors the medieval king St. Steven. The next statue to be sculpted will be along the Amazon River in South America. Toth says, “I make my plans, God decides the rest.”

Lac Courte Oreilles tribal member Valerie Barber heads the planning for the re-dedication. For more information, call the library at 715-634-2161 or email hlibrary@hayward.nwls.lib.wi.us/.

The library is located at 10788 State Highway 27/77 next to Complete Computer Solutions and across the street from the Hayward Wesleyan Church. Please join us to honor this artist and the Whispering Giant he has dedicated to the people of Wisconsin.

See Peter's 3-1/2 minute interview with News 21 at:
http://www.fox21online.com/onthejob/artist-returns-restore-hayward-giant-32-years-later