Australian artist and photographer Guido van Helten’s photorealistic large-scale murals have graced structures from India to Tennessee, exploring topics such as water conservation, the changing of communities, and regional traditions such as farming, wine making, and weaving. For a new commission in Greenville, South Carolina, the artist created an impactful piece to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the city’s schools. “The concept behind this design is a culmination of 10 days of location research and community consultation—focusing on the broad theme of education in Greenville and the history, personalities, and legacies of the Integration Era—in order to find imagery symbolic of unity and diversity in modern-day Greenville,” says van Helten.
Over the course of his research trip, van Helten spoke with a diverse group of community leaders and refined the focus of the mural. “This approach opened up the concept to give voice to traditionally Black communities