FOUR MONGOL ARTISTS WILL BE GOING ON THE EXPEDITION!
Their names are Tugs-Oyun Sodnom, Gadaan Dunburee, Oidoviin Magvandorj and Batnasan Davaasambuu. All are well-known and established artists. Two are recipients of the “Polar Star”, the most important award given to artists by the Mongolian government. One hosts a tv show about art. They are all members of the prestigious Union of Mongolian Artists and have exhibited their work both in Mongolia and internationally. I’ve created a page for each of them, with a short biography and examples of their work. Just click on their names to go to their page.
American artist Sharon K. Schafer will also be going.
THE WILDART MONGOLIA EXPEDITION will take place from August 23 to September 10 this year. It will be a great art adventure with a conservation connection!
You can support the first WildArt Mongolia Expedition, during which American and Mongol artists will join in a first time collaboration of art and conservation. We will be creating art in the field, holding an art exhibition and publishing a book about both the Expedition and the art that will result from it. The Expedition is an initiative of Art Partnerships for Mongolian Conservation, my non-profit association.
American and Mongolian artists will make a true nomadic journey to the remote western Gobi, where we will explore:
-The Altai Mountains, land of the snow leopard (sightings are extremely unlikely, but not impossible). Participating artists will personally experience the snow leopard’s world, what it looks like, what it feels like and also learn what the current conservation challenges are for this charismatic big cat
. -The Dzungarian Gobi, where the last wild tahki (Przewalski’s horse) was seen in 1969 and where they were re-introduced to Takhiin Tal, located in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, in the early 1990s. Along with takhi, we also expect to see the endangered khulan or Mongolian wild ass.
-The Sharga, one of the last remaining stretches of the legendary grassland steppe, which once extended unbroken from Manchuria in the east to Hungary in the west, where one of the mostly critically endangered antelopes in the world, the saiga, is making a last stand.
En route between these special destinations, based on my experience of seven trips to Mongolia, we will see wonderful things every day since, in the Land of Blue Skies, more than in most places, the journey really is the destination.
THE ART MISSION
American and Mongolian artists will collaborate and learn from each other, first in the field and then to create an exhibition of art inspired by the trip. There will also be a book about the Expedition and the exhibition.
The purpose of the field collaboration will be to to share information and ideas. My goals are to offer information on how to gather reference for wildlife/nature art and how to use art to support conservation. This will include demonstrating how I carry out fieldwork, including the use of camera equipment and sketch journals, describing how American artists partner with conservation organizations like land trusts to promote the preservation of special places, offering fundraising ideas like a nature art festival with a silent auction and possibly helping form a Mongolian artist’s nature art group.
The art exhibition will be something new…not just beautiful finished art to view, but each artist will include at least one work which will be accompanied by the visual and written story behind it- journal entries, field sketches, photographs, preliminary drawings, studies, models- whatever went into creating the finished piece.
The goal will be to not only share what we’ve seen, but to show how art is created from a journey like this. And I hope it will enlighten and educate people in both countries about the endangered wildlife and habitats of Mongolia.
My plan is to have venues in both Ulaanbaatar and the United States and the exhibition will be permanently viewable online.
The book will not only be an exhibition catalog of the art and images of the supporting materials used for the works, but also the official record of the Expedition, including journal excerpts, stories and also photos taken en route. It will be produced in at least two ways…an e-edition and a print-on-demand “real” book.
THE CONSERVATION CONNECTION
The Mongols have a deeply embedded land ethic going back over 1000 years (the toes of the traditional herder’s boots are upturned so as not to scuff the earth) and there is substantial grassroots support for conservation. The arrival of extremely large mining projects, upon which Mongolia’s economic future depends, is a source of both hope and great concern.
I would like this cross-culture collaboration to provide one way, through the arts, of showing how special the land and wildlife of Mongolia are. We will be visiting three areas with endangered species and habitats at risk. Artists can bring a very special focus and attention to conservation and environmental issues. The WildArt Mongolia Expedition is my way of doing this in one particular part of the world.
Expedition arrangements are being made and staff provided by Nomadic Journeys, with whom I have traveled for six out of my seven trips to Mongolia. We’ll be traveling in rugged go-anywhere Russian vans, tent camping for 18 nights under millions of stars, surrounded by peace and quiet that’s almost impossible to find anymore.
The Expedition tent, housing the kitchen and dining area, along with work and relaxation space, will be a traditional Mongol summer tent called a “maikhan”.
Our current list of supporters and sponsors includes:
-The official sponsor of the WildArt Mongolia Expedition is the Mongol Heritage Foundation, Byambakhuu Darinchuluun, President
-Jan Wigsten (Nomadic Journeys)
-ASSOCIATION GOVIIN KHULAN (Anne-Camille Souris, President)
-ArtiCour Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia