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Mongolian Street Art Festival

Written by // Antonin Lechat

Mongolian Street Art Festival by Antonin Lechat

Can you imagine what is the Street-Art abroad? Can you image what is the street art in Mongolia? Yes Mongolia is not just nomads, gers, steppes or Chenggis Khan, it’s also one city : Ulaanbaatar where the culture develops day after day and feels free to create whatever could come in.

The Street Art Festival 2012 is the first event of this kind in Mongolia. The idea, which grows with the collaboration between Design-Park and the Alliance Française de Mongolie, is basically to created a fresco of 75 m2 with 10 mongolians Street-Artists and one french. Finally a fresco of 180 m2 have been created by 34 artists.

The plurality of this art

Street art is a branch of the hip-hop culture, which appered in the 70/80s in the poor neighborhood of New-York. In a context of social crisis, the street of the city were the only media that the youth had to express themselves .

Year after years this movement has grown in Europe then all over the globe thanks to the rise of the Rap music. More people took over this culture and invested the streets by this way which was the only accessible one to express themselves and be widely seen. 

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. February 20, 2012. 

Today I went to the Alliance Française de Mongolie, where I met Thomas. Thomas is a french street artist who aims to do a fresco in Mongolia with 10 street artists. He struggled to find participants but finally did.

Problematic:

How an intercultural exchange franco-mongol can integrate the street art culture with a collective of artists in Design Park ?

"From my experience and having already conducted workshops paintings from institutions such as schools, colleges, I realized that the best ideas are growing in the exchange to encounter cultural diversity. It is why we decided to establish a workshop held on February 17, 2012, in image and video, tracing the history of street-art, to open up ideas and other images to show the plurality of this art. With the ten workshop participants I asked a simple question : « With all these mining company from Europe, US and Australia coming to Mongolia to actually steal your natural ressources, how do you see the future of your country ? » Then I reminded them this quotation from Chenngis-Khan : « You can let my body die but not my country ».

After the mid-session impressions and comments were exchanged, which will serve to stimulate their thinking on the Street-Art and to stimulate their creativity to produce first drafts that will be integrated into the final fresco consistent with the site's history and culture of Mongolia. "Thomas Deschamps (animator-designer of the project)  

After the work shop the 10 participants and Thomas could start drawing. Everybody had his own part of the wall and we could already feel a good atmosphere between the artists in Design-Park. I guess everyone was pretty glad to be part of this project. I used to go twice a week, and time after time I could see that more and more people were coming to visit the place. 

Back in Design Park few days later, there was a party organised. So I went in the early afternoon to take some pictures. To my surprise there were so many people and not 11 artists painting on the walls and post but actually about 30. While I was in this room I could see that something was happening right now, right here. Something which happenned for the first time in this country and actually connected all those artists who didn’t know each other before. Today the street art culture changes in Mongolia, thus a part of the culture. 

The festival has been a great success : hundreds of people came during the realisation of the fresco and even more for the closing evening. The street-Art in Mongolia can be fed from this festival untill its next edition which is going to take place next year.

Antonin Lechat - 5-Thomas's Corner 

About the Author

Antonin Lechat

Antonin Lechat

Here I am, for the past 3 years I have been travelling around the globe to finally end up in Ulaanbaatar-Mongolia. Here I have the chance to work for the Mongolian television and to learn every day how to create TV programs by a unique way of learning, it is actually my own kind of university.

I am also writing a documentary about the adaptation of the Mongolian nomads to the city.

In the future I see myself still travelling over the globe in the purpose to show the world through books, photos and documentaries.

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