CUAC is pleased to present Discover Zaqistan: The Art of Adventure
CUAC and the Zaqistan Tourism Board are pleased to co-present an exhibition of the history and culture of Zaqistan, a small, sovereign nation located in the northwest corner of Utah. The exhibition will feature the first ever tourism office and information center offering tours, exhibiting promotional materials and offering the first ever tour of Zaqistan proper—Zaqistan will be opening its borders to select visitors for a short time in celebration of the exhibition. Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to apply for Zaqistani citizenship and a Zaqistani passport. Citizens of Zaqistan will have access to a special embassy area within CUAC controlled by the Zaqistani government.
For CUAC visitors who wish to apply for citizenship, applications can be picked up during open hours. Zaqistan representative Michael Abouzelof will be present at the consulate to process citizenship applications, every Wednesday 2:00-4:00 p.m and Friday 3:00-5:00 p.m. for the duration of the exhibit.
Zaqistan is a project that has gained international attention. CUAC is pleased to present it for the first time in Utah. It is of particular importance here as it parallels the founding of The State of Deseret by our founding pioneers. There remains a strong tradition of people claiming land and seeking autonomy here in Utah—these isolation seekers have established their compounds for religious and political reasons—now Landsberg does it for art reasons. This project is a great exploration of the history of our relationships to the landscape as a nation, and especially in Utah.
—Adam Bateman, CUAC director.
In 2005, New York artist Zaq Landsberg purchased two acres in a remote Utah desert for $610 off of eBay. After venturing out to the land that summer, Landsberg and a few friends who would become the first Zaqistani citizens declared independence from the United States and founded the Republic of Zaqistan. Ten years later, and with the help of writer Michael Abouzelof, Zaqistan has morphed into an international phenomenon that calls into question what it means to be a nation is in the first place.
Over time, Landsberg has built an array of monuments and public works on the land, including a Victory Arch, a customs booth immigration station, and robotic sentinels that protect the borders. Zaqistan has opened a temporary Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Consulate-General in New York City in 2012. The Zaqistan State Department has issued more than 250 passports to date, and more than 700 people around the world hold Zaqistani citizenship.
Described as a “sovereign nation” by Conan O’Brien, “conceptual art project turned into a literal example of nation-building,” by Vice Media and acknowledged by US Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as a “country,” the Republic of Zaqistan exists on a multitude of different levels. While public figures joke about the micronation, refugees from around the world have sought asylum there. It is a plot of land, a severely weathered sculpture garden, a national identity, a conceptual art piece, a de-facto sovereign nation, and a probe into the meaning of sovereignty, legitimacy, nationalism, perception, and reality.
To date, Zaqistan has been reported on in 40 countries and in more than 27 languages. It has been featured in Vice, the NY Daily News, PEOPLE Magazine, ARTE (France), The New York Times, Deseret News, KSL, WGN Radio, New York Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, USA TODAY, Fox News, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo! News, Business Insider, The Seattle Times, The Miami Herald, The Denver Post, SFGate, Salon, DunyaNews Pakistan, Emirates 24/7, Irish Examiner, Egypt 1, Singapore News, Kenya Central, and many others.