Mongolia Monday- I Meet Mongol Artists (At Last!)

I’ve known since my first trips to Mongolia that art is an extremely important part of the culture, but had not found a way to meet or connect with any of the artists themselves. Until now.

Thanks to Janna, the Director of ArtiCour Gallery, who hosted my Ulaabaatar art event on September 22, I got my wish and then some. The gallery represents some of Mongolia’s most prominent and honored painters. Some of them were kind enough to come to the event and two invited me to visit their studios, which I did the next day. I had a wonderful time, thanks to Janna and Khaliunaa, who was one of my interpreters for the art event (along with Buyandelger) and who was nice enough to come along so that I could talk to the artists.

Although they did not have access to the West during what the Mongols call “socialist times”, many Mongolian artists traveled to Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Eastern Bloc countries to study in a variety of art academies and schools, so they were trained in classical, academic methods. They were limited in what was acceptable to paint, Impressionism apparently being totally off-limits, but still found ways to express themselves with great originality. With the coming of democracy in 1991, the artists of Mongolia became free to go wherever their artistic vision leads them.

The following is a “album” of my visit to the studios of six artists, all members of the Union of Mongolian Artists, which was founded in 1944 and has its own large, airy gallery space in the heart of Ulaanbaatar. I’ve been going there every trip since 2006 to see their exhibitions.

The studio photos and some of the art images were taken with my iPhone. Some of the other painting images I scanned from materials like brochures and booklets that the artists gave to me as gifts. I hope you enjoy this “studio tour” and you can be sure that there will be more to come in the future.

The artists are presented in the order in which I met them.

E. Sukhee, who I was told is one of the most eminent artists in Mongolia
Uulen Choloonii Nar by E. Sukhee
G. Dunburee; he was definitely the extrovert of the group
Dunburee’s famous painting “Ikh Khuree”, a scene of Ulaanbaatar in the 1920s, one of a series
Some of Dunburee’s location paintings
Fellow artist, Sosobaram, who stopped in for a short time, Dunburee and I
Sosobaram gave me a lovely booklet of his life and work. I scanned this and the following two images from it. Here is one of his drawings, I think from when he was a student.
Tsagaan Sarnai by B. Sosorbaram
Avto Portret 2006 (Self Portrait 2006) by B. Sosorbaram
S. Bayarbaatar
Talin Unselt by Bayarbaatar
Natsagdorj- one of the very few watercolor artists of his generation
Ikh Taigin Namar by Natsagdorj; he is from the northern part of Mongolia and at one time specialized in images of the Tsaatsan or “Reindeer People”.
Tugs-Oyun Sodnom
Ger District 2009 by Tugs-Oyun
D.Munkh
Landscape in progress- Munkh
Landscape in progress- detail
Finally, Tugs-Oyun, me and Janna Kamimila, the Director of ArtiCour Gallery, who arranged this memorable afternoon with the artists, who couldn’t have been more welcoming

Mongolia Monday- Back Home And With Great Art News!

I arrived home from my seven week trip to Mongolia last Tuesday. I’ve been alternating catching up and doing….nothing or at least nothing more strenuous than watching a baseball game. The first order of business was to download and start categorizing the over 8000 images I shot on the trip. I always feel better when everything is safely on the hard drive, backed up to the remote Vault and visible in Aperture.

My final days in Ulaanbaatar were a bit of a whirlwind. The art event at ArtiCour Gallery was great! There was a steady stream of people all day, some of whom I knew. There was a lot of interest in the WildArt Mongolia Expedition and at least three artists expressed an interest in going next year. Many art students came by. The director of a Mongolian magazine which publishes articles on artists stopped in and said that they want to do an article on my and my work! Even more special to me personally, a number of very prominent Mongol artists attended, all of them members of the venerable Union of Mongolian Artists, which was founded in 1944.  Two of them invited me to visit their studios. But that will be a tale for another post.

Here’s a selection of photos taken at “American Artist Susan Fox-The WildArt Mongolia Expedition”, which was the first in ArtiCour’s new Visiting International Artists series.

Entrance to ArtiCour Gallery
Meeting E. Sukhee, one of Mongolia’s most famous artists
Watercolor demonstration
Bactrian camel. watercolor demo
Display of watercolors I did on location over two afternoons while I was visiting Hustai National Park, one of the three places in Mongolia where takhi (Przewalski’s horse) have been reintroduced
Meeting Dunburee, also a very prominent Mongol artist
Doing a fast sketching demo during my evening presentation
I couldn’t have had a better, more attentive group and they asked some great questions later on.
Meeting with Ekhbat Lantuu, President of the New Century Art Association, which promotes environmental issues through the arts.
My interpreters, Khailiunaa and Buyandelger, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to talk to anyone
Janna Kamimila, the Director of ArtiCour Gallery and my host