Title of Work
Date of Work
35mm color slide
James Smith Pierce Collection
Stored: 211 Cupboard C, JSPS-03-OD-1
UND Art Collections Repository
Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.
About St. EOM:
Eddie Owens Martin (later referred to as St. EOM) was born in 1908, the son of a sharecropper. Martin ran away at the age of fourteen to New York City, where he lived for over three decades. In New York, Martin worked various odd jobs before becoming an established fortune teller at a local tea room. On the side, he would make handmade jewelry, drawings, and paintings to sell. While in New York, Martin began having visions of a man with a long beard who told him to call himself St. EOM and that he would be the first Pasaquoyan. A combination of Spanish and Chinese which roughly translated to “the past coming together”.
In 1957, as part of the instructions given during his visions, Martin returned to Georgia to a farmhouse left to him by his recently deceased mother. He worked as a fortune teller and further expanded on the beliefs of Pasaquoyanism, including the belief that one should never cut their hair. At the same time he also began constructing walls along the property from old bricks and concrete, which he then painted with early Mesoamerican inspired designs. On the property he also built a large round dance platform, several temples, totems, and a two-story pagoda over the property’s well. All were decorated with similar colorful motifs and mandalas.
Martin died in 1986 and subsequently left his property, now known as Pasaquan, and all of his belongings to the Columbus Museum in Georgia. The museum partnered with the Kohler Foundation in 2014 to restore the site, which was later reopened in 2016. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
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