Drawing on the techniques of the Mongol Zurag painting—that first emerged during the Mongolian independence movement in the early 20th century—Baatarzorig Batjargal, examines the broader history of Mongolia over the past century in a fresh, innovative manner.
As he explores a time of unprecedented urbanisation, the artist addresses the contradictions of his own environment, providing, in the process, a multi-layered social commentary. He pans from the repressions of Soviet-style communism (dating back to the Stalinist purge of 1930s) to the inequalities and consumerism of global capitalism (post-1990s), and offers narratives concerned with the loss of traditional heritage. In a rich tapestry of various regimes, the portraits in his series include gods, holy men, artists, intellectuals, warriors, noblemen, politicians, oligarchs, even cartoon characters.
Prior to the 1990s, Mongolians were divided into three main classes: 1.) Worker, 2.1) Herdsman, 2.2) Peasant and 3.) Intelligentsia. Life was lived in grey colour. At the time, in the Western world, there was this concept that personal freedom and property equal happiness. And the idea that “if a person works hard, the hard work will pay” began to spread.
The Mongolian state authorities noticed this and gave up their position in a peaceful way to their young generations who started the democratic revolution in Mongolia in 1990. Since then, some Mongolian people have found their forgotten indigenous lifestyle, religion, and Mongolian customs. But before 1990—it should be noted—although there was no freedom to express one’s thought and no private property, there was also no phenomenon of unemployment, no begging or hunger.
Well, that’s pretty much all about the social issues. Mongolia was changed from the rule of Manchu to the Kingdom, from the Kingdom to the People’s Republic of Mongolia, to the Republic of Mongolia within 100 years.