Rise and Fall

August 25–September 3, 2023, at the Bunport Theatre

Artist statement

The history of Russian, European, and American magical traditions evolved in the contours of their empires. In 1875, Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in the United States. She sought an “Ancient Wisdom” that would combine European paganism with Hinduism and Buddhism and become the one unifying religion of the “New Age.” Blavatsky’s concept of Ancient Wisdom relied on the idea of “root races,” including the lost mythical civilizations of Lemuria and Atlantis, which (according to the belief) culminated in the arrival of the Aryan race. Ariosophy, the occult movement of Nazi Germany, would later borrow these same racial theories to support its genocide of Jewish, queer, and disabled people. “Rise and Fall” examines the colonialist impulse to step out of present-day realities in search for ancient, esoteric, ethnocentric, and unquestionable truths. While viewing the exhibition, I invite you to think about the ways that magic can be anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist.

More witchy pieces from my personal collection

These pieces aren’t made by me, but they’d make a great addition to any collection of esoteric art.

Production photography

Photo credit: Shokai Carter Sinclair | @shokaisinclair | art.airloom.space