Preserving Pasaquan

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Annie Moye was 17 years old the first time she visited Pasaquan, the rural homestead of outside…

Georgia (Sep 18, 2012)

Annie Moye was 17 years old the first time she visited Pasaquan, the rural homestead of outside artist Eddie Owens Martin, or St. EOM as he preferred to be called, which he transformed into his personal vision of paradise.
 
“Every small Southern town has its eccentric,” Moye said. “St. EOM just happened to be a great one.”
 
On four acres just outside of Buena Vista, Ga., Martin created an environmental art site consisting of six buildings,
including a late-nineteenth-century farmhouse, all painted – inside and out – with vibrant colors and bold patterns, often incorporating human figures and nature imagery. There are also several painted concrete walls, which often feature raised sculptural elements.
 
“The first time I came here I remember thinking, ‘this is bizarre and really cool,’” Moye, a native of neighboring
Lumpkin, Ga., said, “I like that this man who grew up near where I grew up created this beautiful place.”
 
St. EOM received little artistic recognition during his lifetime, though once he was featured along with other
Georgia artists at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. His suicide on a spring day in 1986, however, brought
him fame. Works by St. EOM have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Smithsonian
Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.
 
As part of her capstone project for her master’s in American Studies , which she received in May, Moye created
a digital archive for the Pasaquan Preservation Society Inc.,which owns the site.
 
“Annie has accomplished more in one year than we have been able to do since 2003,” preservation board chairman
 
Dr. John S. Rogers said. “She has archived so much of the paperwork from Eddie Martin which can now be used by
anyone wishing to research his life and work.” Moye has archived boxes and boxes of St. EOM’s personal memorabilia, including letters, veterinary bills, original sketches, a postcard from Georgia folk artist Howard Finster, even a receipt for 1,000 Buddha statues that St. EOM would presumably sell to his fortune-telling customers.
 
“I’m going through very intimate details of his life, and learning about who he was,” Moye said. “I think that he was a very funny person; that the friendships in his life meant a lot to him; he was a very loyal person; he loved animals and drag; and he maintained many friendships throughout his life.”
 
In addition to archiving St. EOM’s documents, Moye has converted old 8mm and super 8mm film files to digital format that are now available on YouTube and Facebook.
 
“This worldwide publicity she has created will benefit Pasaquan for years to come,” Rogers, the preservation society board chair, said. “We also are very gratified that Kennesaw State University has worked in conjunction with
Annie to make all this possible.”
 
Working under the guidance of professors LeeAnn Lands and Dinah McClintock, as well as receiving advice from the
Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books, Moye’s project is a shining example of how KSU is striving to become Georgia’s Engaged University.
 
“As the GRA for Engaged KSU, the idea for this project from the beginning was what can I do for the Pasaquan Preservation Society,” Moye said. “I’m really proud to be able to work and help this site. That’s the thing about public
scholarship, it is very rewarding, to feel like you’re helping your community in some way while you’re getting your degree.”
 
-- Jennifer Hafer

 

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