Artist: Leigh Ann Culver
Location: Trailside wall of 31 Mill Street Building
About the Artist: Leigh Ann Culver grew up in the Southeastern United States. Born in Florida, she moved to Atlanta Georgia in her adolescence. The historical and cultural significance of the American South, in its varying attributes, has greatly influenced and shaped Culver’s work.
In her mural, Interwoven, Culver tells the story of the Civil War from women’s point of view. The woman on the left was inspired by Susie Baker King Taylor, who was an enslaved woman from Georgia who escaped to freedom and taught other enslaved people. She organized a school for the children on St. Simon’s Island, became a combat nurse, and a social activist. Of Taylor’s depiction Culver says, “I tried to get a likeness in the portrait but I also wanted to keep the subject anonymous so that she can represent free women of color in general.”
The woman to the right is one of the Roswell Mill women who were working in dangerous cotton mills during the war, captured by the North as prisoners of war and taken away from their homes, most of which never returned.
Interwoven represents the hardships shared by both communities. The subjects are portrayed as strong and confident women. Culver tries to depict every detail, flaw and emotion as she tells their stories through her art. The two women are pulling on a loose thread from their dresses causing it to unravel into a pool of strings that flow from the bottom and spill out onto the surface of the arch. This is symbolism for an 'undoing' of the past, the string of time that connects us coming undone to then weave a new start.
Using life-like detail, Culver creates large scale, charcoal drawings of people with untold stories. She is fascinated with historical photographs, and how one still moment can translate the story and emotion of human life. By examining human life across spans of time and space, she has found common threads of struggle, love, pain, and courage that tie us all together. Through exploring the diversity of people, Culver uncovers human unity.
Written by Gina Duncan