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Red Table or Mirage
Tsagaandariin Enkhjargal
■Year 1992
■Medium oil on canvas
■Size (cm)
While many contemporary paintings from Mongolia revere the country's natural beauty and the power that is hidden in the landscape, rarely do any of the works show an awareness of contradictions in contemporary society, or provide a reflection on history. Enkhjargal is a rare Mongolian painter who addresses social issues such as poverty. His handling of these issues is not simple; rather he expresses the magical power of the existence of the poor. The gorgeous building that floats, mirage-like, in the distance in this painting symbolizes the destruction of cultural relics after the communists banned religion in the 1930s, a ban which continued until democratization in 1990. The green horses seen here are said to relate to a Mongolian festival honoring Maitreya Bodhisattva. The difficulties and sadness concealed in the beautiful grassy plains of this country appear amidst Enkhajargal's fascinating, dream-like images.
Tserennadmidin Tsegmed
■Year 1993
■Medium oil on canvas
■Size (cm)
The Orkhon River is 1124 km in length and flows through the eastern Khangai ranges of Mongolia. The scene depicted here is an actual site, the Red Falls (or Beautiful Falls) on the upper reaches of the river. These falls are revered by Mongolians, whose grassy plains do not contain many waterfalls. Since the introduction of democracy to Mongolia in 1990, the country has begun to develop economically, and the Mongolian people are extremely proud of their fertile land. While there are many Mongolian painters who prefer natural elements for their painting subjects, and create such works, the majority of these images are simply idealistic depictions of beautiful scenery. Tsegmed is one of the rare Mongolian artists who weaves into his works the animistic Mongolian view that people have a spiritual existence that can be seen in nature. At times he depicts these forms in lofty solemnity, at other times in strange and weird ways. According to the artist, he painted this work in order to depict 'the link between the power of nature and the tragedies, dreams, and joys of humanity.'
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