Here’s what you can learn by painting a giant mural in South Dakota

“If we could all slow down, take a moment and understand each other, we would see others for who they really are.”

That’s the takeaway from Emad Rashidi, who has just unveiled his documentary about artist Guido van Helten of Australia, who wanted to learn more about the people of a small town in South Dakota and painted the biggest mural in the state.

It’s pretty great.

New documentary! One of my biggest film projects to date. This past summer + fall, I met up with my good friend Guido van Helten from Australia in a little town in South Dakota, as he was about to take on one of his most challenging projects yet – the biggest mural this part of the country and state has ever seen. We set off in hopes of really learning about the people here and getting an understanding for this community- while creating something together that would show how unique, real, and special this part of the country really is. I had an unbelievable time meeting all the people in this little place. Their faces, gratitude, and kindness will stay with me always. I learned a lot while making this. Most importantly, I was reminded that If we could all slow down, take a moment and understand each other, we would see others for who they really are.I remember while we were creating this, people were driving 5 hours+ across the state just to get a glimpse of this thing in person. It was amazing to see this mural come to life, and to see how special it was and what it meant to the people of Faulkton and South Dakota.Special thanks to Dave Hedt for coordinating this entire project, to Brian Siskind on helping with drone footage, and to the people of South Dakota.

Posted by Emad Rashidi on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

(h/t: Pegeen Donlin)

  • “…down at the bah and the petrol station… we learn about each other.” It really is quite simple and beautiful when we listen to each other and learn each other’s stories, and when someone comes along who can do that and then stitch the stories together – well, that’s a gift to humanity. Thanks, Emad and Guido.

  • Guest

    I wonder why that view was painted, but the quality sure is photo-real

    • That photo-real quality reminds me of the Dylan mural at 5th and Hennepin.

      • Jeff R.

        Check out the Chuck Close paintings at any museum.

    • Al

      I like it. He could be any kid (I’ll leave why he’s clearly a boy and what that means for the future of women in farming for a another time…), and off he goes into the future. I think it’s pretty neat.

      ETA: I commented before I reached the end of the video, obviously (whoops). Glad to see the girl up there, too. The women in our family do just as much, either directly or indirectly, to support those farms.

  • X.A. Smith

    Thanks for sharing this. Such a great little video—I’ll definitely go visit this mural sometime.

    • Brian Simon

      More or less 300 miles due West. Freeways don’t go there, so it’s probably a beautiful drive.

      • X.A. Smith

        I was within 30 miles of it a couple of times in December, oddly enough.

  • Al

    So much of this looks familiar; husband is from a family of farmers and ranchers outside a medium town (2,000 people) in North Dakota. We return twice/year. We’ll likely inherit some of the land–pretty surreal for a city gal like myself.

    I can’t help but wonder: Whose stories aren’t told in a video like this? It’s beautiful, and yet I feel like I’m missing something.

  • Wow, this actually made me choke up a bit and that mural is fantastic.

  • tarry_on

    Wow. Awesome mural, beautiful video.

  • P Rasmussen

    Fantastic piece and an amazing artist! I grew up near Faulkton, so it’s fun to see the small town get highlighted like this. I really enjoyed the drone photography angles and the composition of the shots. Beautiful people and prairie. This guy really captured it.