Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Untitled (Atlanta’s Missing Children, Orange Rat)

An orange rodent-like creature crouches in a dark green background below a multicolored forest.

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Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982




Crayon and pencil on board


Image/Sight: 19 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (50.2 cm x 37.5 cm) Framed/Mounted: 29 1/4 x 23 1/4 x 1 1/4 inches (74.3 cm x 59.1 cm x 3.2 cm)


Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #


Image Copyright

© Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta.


Nellie Mae Rowe depicted the void left by the nearly 30 children who went missing in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981, a crisis that was recently revisited by the popular true crime podcast Atlanta Monster. She represented them through absence, depicting a garden that seems incomplete without children playing in it, and a lonely dog who mourns their absence. In the roughly shaded spots between the flowers, tiny figures appear faintly, embodying her hope that some of the children might still be found alive.