Johan Thurfjell / Nate Harold

In February of 2024, Swedish artist Johan Thurfjell and Swedish-based musician Nate Harold are PSA-MS artists in residence. They are collaboratively working on a project, including a board game and soundtrack, about the Chatawa Monster. After initial research in February, the artists will return to Sweden where they will continue to work. They will return in late 2024 to present their final body of work. 

According to Pike County legend, a circus train rolling down the old Illinois Central Railroad to New Orleans derailed in the Tangipahoa swamps near Chatawa.  Aboard this train was a variety of strange and unusual critters, but the most notorious was billed as a half-man, half-ape hybrid.  He was terribly ferocious and would attack any person or animal that got too close, so he had to be kept in a heavy iron cage in his own railcar. 

When the train derailed, all of the railcars crashed into the woods and most of the animals were killed.  The only survivor was the ape-man.  A couple of weeks after the wreck, the ape-man was spotted lurking near St. Mary of the Pines, so a search party was quickly put together and sent out to recapture him.  But they returned empty handed, and the ape-man was never seen again.  Yet sightings of a large, hairy, Bigfoot-like creature roaming the swamps near Chatawa persist to this day.  

About the artists

Johan Thurfjell’s work combines everyday observations with myths and mysticism with which he builds up his own distinctive poetic symbolism. Regardless of his choice of material or technique Thurfjell’s sculptures, paintings, video works and installations show a visible enjoyment and dexterity in his handcraft.

Nate Harold grew up in a very small farming community called Weskan (population 341) on the Kansas/Colorado border. He moved to Lawrence, Kansas as a teenager and quickly involved himself with the budding music scene in the city. From there he began to tour relentlessly, making it his profession in 2005. Since then he has graduated from tiny clubs in the midwest to huge venues all around the globe, has met the President a few times and has been on the stage at the Grammys. “Music is my passion and my hobby,” Nate says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Pike School of Art - Mississippi is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Pike School of Art - Mississippi must be made payable to “Pike School of Art - Mississippi” and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. TAX ID #47-3838208

PSA-MS is a proud member of:


Proud Member of the Society for Nonprofits

Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy