Responding to Pasaquan was curated by Saya Woolfalk for the 2018 Outsider Art Fair, and was presented with support from the John Michael Kohler Art Center and Pasaquan at Columbus State University.
"Visionary Art is a grassroots form of self-expression and the ideas put forth by visionary artists can be powerful tools for imagining alternative realities.
In 1957, interracial marriage was illegal in twenty-four states in the United States, including Georgia. This was also the year Eddie Owens Martin (St. EOM) began to build Pasaquan, an elaborate complex of visionary art and architecture in Columbus, Georgia. St. EOM created a future utopian world called Pasaquan, in which all cultures and ethnic groups come together and connect with the earth and the universe.
He built a temple to a culturally hybridized world in a place and time when many Americans were violently unreceptive to this perspective. What compelled St. EOM to build such a complex? How was he able to project his progressive views into the imaginations of his neighbors and what methods did he use so they might consider his utopia?
My curated booth at the Outsider Art Fair is the first in a series of projects in which I engage St EOM’s ideas and work. The resulting installations are an attempt to understand the strategies St EOM used to communicate his vision of Pasaquan with the people of Columbus, Georgia. St. EOM engaged visitors with the use of fortune telling and astrology. The booth at the Outsider Art Fair is furnished with objects from St. EOM’s original fortune telling parlor. This includes mandalas borrowed from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center as the starting point for site-specific wall drawings and an unpainted bust from St. EOM’s workshop, which I will activate with video projections.
At the center of this installation is a piece developed with astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat. Audience members will be invited to have their charts read and participate in workshops that decolonize through astrology."