4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Toth’s Trail of Whispering Giants Born in La Jolla

Image of Waokiye, at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs, from www.dcschumaker.com
Image of Waokiye, at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs, from www.dcschumaker.com

Forty years ago, in 1972, a man spent six months chiseling the face of an Indian into a cliff between Marine Street and Windansea Beach in La Jolla.

Peter Wolf Toth had just dropped out of college and was traveling around the country when he found himself in La Jolla, where his brother has resided for decades. Seeing a “haunted face” in the stone set him on a lifelong mission to honor legendary Native Americans and the plight of occupied indigenous nations. Today, his Trail of Whispering Giants includes 74 sculptures, all of which he carved by hand.

Although Toth is not Native American, he remembers the Russian liberation of Hungary from Nazi occupation and the horrors inflicted on the ethnic minority tribes during the subsequent occupation by the Red Army.

“My work chronicles the epic struggle of all people facing injustice," said Toth in an interview. "If people miss that point, they miss 90 percent of what my work is all about."

Although his subsequent Giants have been the result of community involvement, he hadn’t sought permission from local authorities for his La Jolla sculpture. When a police officer stopped by and asked him what he was doing, he told him, “I’m releasing a face of a haunted Indian.” According to Toth, the officer didn’t blink, responding as he walked away that he thought the sculpture “looked nice.”

“I’m kind of crazy — not dangerous crazy," said Toth, "but it does help to be a little crazy when you’re an artist.”  

According to David Schumaker, an expert on Toth’s work, the La Jolla sculpture is referred to by locals as "Scarface" due to the effects of 40 years of weathering. The sculpture, the only one of the Giants to have been made from stone, is not easy to locate due to the constant reconfiguration of the dunes.  

Toth is the author of Indian Giver: Gifts of Statues for All 50 Stated to Honor the Indian, now in its seventh edition. Many of his Giants are catalogued in the Smithsonian Art Inventory.

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs is home to Toth’s 27th Giant, Waokiye.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Oceanside's Michelle Gomez sues ex-workers for libel and gets some to back off

But not Robert Leahy
Next Article

Clout chasing with 50 cent

J. Suarez opines on the president/hip-hop connection
Image of Waokiye, at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs, from www.dcschumaker.com
Image of Waokiye, at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs, from www.dcschumaker.com

Forty years ago, in 1972, a man spent six months chiseling the face of an Indian into a cliff between Marine Street and Windansea Beach in La Jolla.

Peter Wolf Toth had just dropped out of college and was traveling around the country when he found himself in La Jolla, where his brother has resided for decades. Seeing a “haunted face” in the stone set him on a lifelong mission to honor legendary Native Americans and the plight of occupied indigenous nations. Today, his Trail of Whispering Giants includes 74 sculptures, all of which he carved by hand.

Although Toth is not Native American, he remembers the Russian liberation of Hungary from Nazi occupation and the horrors inflicted on the ethnic minority tribes during the subsequent occupation by the Red Army.

“My work chronicles the epic struggle of all people facing injustice," said Toth in an interview. "If people miss that point, they miss 90 percent of what my work is all about."

Although his subsequent Giants have been the result of community involvement, he hadn’t sought permission from local authorities for his La Jolla sculpture. When a police officer stopped by and asked him what he was doing, he told him, “I’m releasing a face of a haunted Indian.” According to Toth, the officer didn’t blink, responding as he walked away that he thought the sculpture “looked nice.”

“I’m kind of crazy — not dangerous crazy," said Toth, "but it does help to be a little crazy when you’re an artist.”  

According to David Schumaker, an expert on Toth’s work, the La Jolla sculpture is referred to by locals as "Scarface" due to the effects of 40 years of weathering. The sculpture, the only one of the Giants to have been made from stone, is not easy to locate due to the constant reconfiguration of the dunes.  

Toth is the author of Indian Giver: Gifts of Statues for All 50 Stated to Honor the Indian, now in its seventh edition. Many of his Giants are catalogued in the Smithsonian Art Inventory.

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs is home to Toth’s 27th Giant, Waokiye.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego's secret and not-so-secret Trump supporters

‘Marilou, don’t say anything. You’re going to get hurt.'
Next Article

George Duncombe Cox: contemporary of John Keats

His poems reveal a long-abiding interest in matters of faith in God and humanity’s ultimate destiny beyond this world
Comments
6

good crazy is good....

July 28, 2012

T'is that. Thanks for reading!

July 28, 2012

Thank you for your many wonderful and informational pieces about our community. Most of us do not explore enought in the areas that you visit. Keep up your great work and maybe you will continue to inspire us to go visit the places that you write about. Keep safe your travels and warmest regards.

July 28, 2012

Thanks for reading and commenting, Fad444. Too close to NOT go if you haven't been yet. Just saying.

July 28, 2012

Roody, Do you know if any of Toth's other sculptures are in this area (Greater San Diego)?

Nice article.

July 28, 2012

Thanks, JJ. I don't, no. The only other Whispering Giant in state is in Desert Hot Springs (see David's website for the locations http://www.dcschumaker.com/) and when I spoke with Toth he didn't mention any other works from his other collections that were in the vicinity.

July 29, 2012

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close