|Pasaquan, 2017. Photo: Hillary Brown|
“I’d recommend people go ‘while the paint’s fresh.’ That’s what Alan Rothschild, the chair of the museum’s Board of Advisors and a Columbus resident, told me, and I think it was smart advice.”
Eddie Owens Martin
Owens was born in Buena Vista, Georgia, in 1908 to a poor sharecropping family. He ran away at age 14 to live in New York City where he first began studying and creating art. In his 20s, Owens experienced the first of his fever-induced dreams in which he was visited by giant figures from the future. In this first vision, the figures told him, “You’re gon’ be the start of somethin’ new, and you’ll call yourself Saint EOM, and you’ll be a Pasaquoyan — the first one in the world.” In 1957 after his mother’s death, the newly consecrated St. EOM moved back to his mother’s 18th century farmhouse and there began constructing the Pasaquan site onto existing structures. St. EOM explained that he “built this place to have something to identify with. Here I can be in my own world, with my temples and designs and the spirit of God. I can have my own spirits and my own thoughts.”
|St. EOM (Eddie Owens Martin). Photo: Columbus State University|
St. EOM’s Pasaquoyan aesthetic and spiritualism is defined by an interesting blend of various cultural motifs. His wall paintings reference both eastern and western major religions, featuring large-scale mandalas and crosses. He used masonry and bright colors to depict human forms and geometric patterns, a practice reminiscent of the bright colors and angular geometry found in ancient Aztec and other pre-Columbian works of art. He was also inspired by Edward Churchward’s writing on the fabled “Lost Continent of Mu” and the concept of a singular and peaceful ancient civilization. He created Pasaquan as a representation of his optimistic vision of the future as a cultural blend of peoples in a state of bright and fantastic unity. St. EOM has stated that his one-man religion, Pasaquoyanism, “has to do with the Truth, and with Nature, and the Earth, and man’s lost rituals.”1 He funded and built Pasaquan almost single-handedly with money he received from fortune-telling.
|Great Goddess mural from the site of Teotihuacán, Mexico. St. EOM's work resembles|
that of the ancient Aztecs and Mesoamericans. Image: Wikipedia
|Wall under conservation, 2015. Photo: David Anderson, Columbus State University Archives|
|After conservation, 2017. Photo: Hillary Brown|
1 Tom Patterson, St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan: The Life and Time and Art of Eddie Owens Martin (Jargon Society: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1987).