Posted on September 19, 2022

Passage Prize, Volume 1

Howe Abbott-Hiss, Counter-Currents, September 16, 2022

A chronic problem with the arts and politics is that explicitly political art is often not the best art, regardless of the message. Jared Taylor of American Renaissance has noted that novels which are written with the intention of delivering a pro-white message are generally not very good. We see a similar problem in contemporary films, where the obsession with delivering a “woke” message recently created a movie so terrible that it was cancelled after filming was complete.

This does not mean that the right cannot produce good art, however. Pseudonymous writer Lomez has released a book showcasing the winners of last year’s Passage Prize, a contest for dissident writing and art, as well as the work of numerous other contestants who were judged as among the best 2 or 3%. The contest was centered on the theme “escape from the longhouse” — that is, escape from the stultifying egalitarian culture of today, and many previous ages as well. The results are of widely varying style and accessibility, but some pieces express a spirit and aesthetic that should certainly resonate with many readers.

When I received this book in the mail, I was not sure what to expect. The book begins with essays by the contest’s four judges, the last of which is a serious analysis of storytelling in the current year. Zero HP Lovecraft explains why he rejected a story with a feminist and humanist framing, while he accepted one with a plot more similar to the biblical tale of the prodigal son. As he puts it, “the stories that we tell each other teach us how to think about other people . . . about right and wrong,” and the reason many people accept “woke” morality is that they are constantly exposed to a similar morality in stories, from movies to children’s cartoons. To turn things around, we need to tell our own type of story.


The book is especially impressive in terms of visual aesthetics. The first place prizewinner for visual art, an artist going by the name of Wide Dog, submitted a set of eight pieces entitled Memories of a Golden Future. Two of these seem to be inspired by the late Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico’s Piazza D’Italia, with its strangely empty open plaza. As the art judge notes, this is not crude propaganda; the images make no reference to any of the themes we might expect in dissident condemnation of “clown world” or its architects. The artist has, however, included a blurb explaining his work as showing “a place where nature and beauty are not stamped out and there is open space to build.”

Most of these pieces share the themes of open spaces, female figures, and the color white. All but one of the images feature some kind of tower, contributing to an uplifting effect. True to their umbrella name, the pieces look both traditional and futuristic. There is no clear sign of modern technology depicted, and two of the images include ancient-looking water jugs, while another two figures are holding what could be medieval lutes. One piece looks like a museum exhibit, with a mannequin showcasing the clothing of an unknown culture in front of a photograph of a tower presumably built by people of the same kind. This is not the only image where the figure seems to be a mannequin; perhaps such vague approximations of people are used because the actual people who would fit these fashions do not exist yet. The architecture in these pieces is unfamiliar, and for all we know it could come from far in the future. The whole series gives the impression of great possibilities.

There is a great variety of visual art in this volume, some of it compelling and some of it painfully modern, but the best is from the second-place prizewinner, an artist going by the name of Zach Brown who submitted three paintings. {snip}


Passage Prize, Volume 1 can be pre-ordered here. The next round of the Passage Prize is now open for submissions. Visual art, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction can be entered here for a chance to win up to $1,500, and more importantly a chance to contribute to a healthy new culture for our people.