Viewing rural life from children’s perspective

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Children from Khutag-Undur soum of Bulgan Province launched their “Big Children” joint contemporary exhibition at the Norphei Art Gallery from June 1 to 3.

'Cycle of Life' by Z.Aldar

Nine children aged between 12 and 17 exhibited paintings, photographs, art installations, and mixed media that they created based on their daily lives.

Due to the scarcity of materials in the soum center, the little artists did not limit themselves or their creativity to just paper and traditional drawing materials. Instead, they created their works using natural wood, stone, plastic containers and reusable materials.

'Comfort' by M.Sanchir

They aim to convey the lifestyles of rural children and their daily activities to Ulaanbaatar residents who are moving farther away from the nomadic way of life to inspire them to love their country and the environment through art and to show that children have many opportunities to express themselves creatively.

L.Munkhzaya, the curator of the exhibition, is a graduate of the Mongolian State University of Education, the School of Fine Arts and Design of the Mongolian National University of Arts and Culture, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Perugia.

She said, “I am confident that the exhibition can make thousands of children and adults more enlightened. Art is a powerful tool for expressing one’s voice in society. Since the first day I went to Khutag-Undur soum to teach, my thoughts about rural children changed day by day and the more I realized how much I could learn from them and how big their dreams were, the more I began to think that they are very mature. As we move away from the Mongolian traditional way of life each passing day, adults do not always notice that we have a lot to learn from children. We are becoming more concerned about children’s education, but we not talking to them or trying to understand and listen to them. During my six months teaching children in Khutag-Undur soum, I wanted to inspire and give them the confidence to do what they want.”

One of the most eye-catching piece at the exhibition was “Reflection” by student J.Bumdari, which clearly expresses the meaning of International Children’s Day. She spilled black spots on a white shirt and surrounded it with pictures of mouths. These mouths are also connected by black wires.

'Reflection' by J.Bumdari

She explained her piece, “Children are like white paper, but the words of those around us pollute us like black spots. Children who believe what they hear grow up ‘enslaved’. So when we make friends with good people, we can be good people.”

J.Bumdari thought she was not good at drawing, but she learned to express herself after attending a drawing class. She learned that art is not just about painting, so she began to traverse the wonderful world of art.

In addition to sharing great lessons with adults through their work, children have turned their heritage into stunning works of art.

Misheel Lkhasuren