S.Sarantsatsralt: Man Makes Himself

It’s great that you don’t need a long introduction before our conversation to introduce you to the readers. But there are who would like to know your life credo and look at your inner self. So let’s start from the philosophy of life, agree?
– I prefer living my own way, but without making it difficult to others, without overly standing out or competing. It is nice to live in a calm environment and take care of my beloved pets, a dog and bird. I want to think that I am a teacher who teaches people to love, including the love to animals. I have few close friends, who I can list on my fingers. I think I live on my own terms and principles, for me, the word is an obligation. I keep my distance from those who I do not like, but my close friends are for life, we are always there for each other. I am not a fawner or soother, that’s the kind of person I am. It’s nice to relate to everyone like to a human being. In the 1990s, people in the sewage trenches near my house would shout: “Aunt Sara, you are the one!” I would bring them twenty khushuur every day, and how much they would appreciate! They always guarded my car in the parking lot next to my home. Their sincere gratitude in itself inspires love and respect. They were not born in those trenches, and no one can guess where and how someone would live in the middle of life.

We heard that you were a girl who loved to draw since childhood. At what age did you start drawing?
– From the age of three. My toys were colored pencils and clay. I slept with my white and yellow teddy bears, which were presented to me when I was 1 years old, until I got married. They are still with me. My childhood drawings were kept in large bags for a long time, and later the family shed, where they were kept, has burned down. I was a girl who didn’t really like dolls. Once, when my father brought a doll from Moscow, I told him to give it to my cousin.

Do you remember the first moment when you became very aware of yourself, like: “this is me”?
– I remember very clearly. I must have been three or four years old. Mom put a bowl of porridge in front of me, saying “Don’t spill,” and left the room. And I spilled it, of course, and thought: “I didn’t spill it on purpose, only accidental. How that it is my fault?” Of course, I wiped with a towel and threw away the kitchen sink. Mom didn’t scold me that day because she didn’t know anything. I remember feeling a little joyful and comfortable because of discovering for myself that I can hide something from others and have my own secret.

Where and in what environment do you feel most like yourself?
– I always feel like myself. Why and for whom to pretend? I have no reason to talk honey with anyone. I don’t go out of my way to please someone. When I draw, I don’t think about what people would think of my creation. I draw what I like, I draw what is in me. What a wonderful feeling when you like yourself, for example, when I see that my skin is glowing and smooth. Generally, my world is what I like. The environment must be always looked at from the positive angle. From such position, life is so simple and understandable.

Does a person create himself, or is the nature of a person made up by influence of people around?
– I believe that a person makes himself. When a child is born, he already has the codes of the parents. They give a name to the baby, decorate a room, teach to do something or act in certain way. Of course, such coding affects the entire life. On the other hand, I may not like this code, it is presented to me from the outside, it is not surprising that I may not accept it. Personally, I do not understand accusations in disagreement with parents. Since this is my life, I have to create it myself. If I have a problem, I first turn to myself, so the solution or conclusion is clear and acceptable to me. My own solutions have never let me down. Sometimes they complain that someone did not inherit some special quality of their father, or mother’s kind character or talent, but is there any point in being a copy or version of a parent, and copying someone?


– A person who managed to change his outlook on things,
will be able to change his lifestyle and worldview –


One of the works of your exhibition “Save Your Soul” in 2021 was called “Application of My Birth”.
– Yes, that’s what it’s called. If someone with 100% certainty answers all the questions of the application, then there are no restrictions on having children as many as your heart wishes. But if there is no complete certainty in the answers, then everything is already problematic. The number of people who do not feel responsible for the birth of their children, is surprising. I don’t understand the attitude: “Why not have a baby if there are already brothers and sisters who would look after?” Forcing someone to look after a brother or sister is a harmful attitude. In fact, no one is born to raise the younger ones. I remember in my childhood girls had little time to play in the yard, they cared for their little siblings and wore house keys around their necks. It is a pity that such children grow up not feeling happy childhood.

I found it interesting to see a wall and a ladder leaning against it with money under it. And the brand items stacked on a chair is also designed to call for thinking and reflection…?
– As for the ladder, this is the work that shows that everything is blessed with money. As to installations with brand items, the idea was not to criticize a particular brand or people who wore it. It criticized a society that “won’t move eyes” if you don’t wear a brand name.

People were very interested in the work with a lot of garbage and headless people holding their hands and hearts on the screen behind them. Did you bring a lot of garbage from the landfill?
– I collected that trash from four mountains. This is work with a question of what is homeland. Through previous exhibitions, I communicated with people, but this exhibition was intended to raise more questions. Motherland is when someone sings dramatically holding hand near heart? what this really is? A flashing screen signifies a creaky mind.

Why did you decide to hold an exhibition in the contemporary style?
– Contemporary art allows us to evaluate and analyze the processes taking place around and within us, without filtering. This is a unique art that always raises questions and arouses curiosity. The great advantage of this art is that it acquaints society with knowledge, understanding and the desire to change the existence. In fact, changing your outlook on things around you can change your lifestyle and outlook on life. People who can look at things from different angles create a better future. But today, as I said, adult juveniles are everywhere. That’s why I called my exhibition “Save Your Soul”. If we don’t save our souls and unique mentality now, Mongolia will not be able to survive in this terrible digital age. Contemporary art is very diverse, it can express the whole society or in detail. That’s why this is the today’s modern art and the world breathes it. Contemporary works have explanations that can be overwhelming for anyone who hears or sees them. They are unique without decorations and foils. We need to develop this art according to the global principles. Foreign artists reflect in their work, the processes taking place in their society, without filtering, as it is. However, our artists do not express a strong position in the society, all they express is flowery rains and rainbow horses.

Who is your favorite poet?
– L.Ulziytugs. He has no undue ambitions, his poems flow from within and inward. Reading them is relaxing. It is also pleasant to read Japanese haiku, they help to live without any ambitions and selfishness, as if there is no rear, no front. They display the essence simply and as it is. The works of some poets and authors radiate their exorbitant ambitions. They write through the prism of their own ego. And why do I need someone else’s ego when I have nowhere to put my own.

Until the 1990s, it was rare for us to see an exhibition full of emotions, spiritual pleasure and freedom, that would cause joy and delight. Who would you name as an artist who surprised you at that time?
– I first fell in love with the paintings of painter Soosai, I will never forget them, they were beautiful.

A few years ago, doctor B. Boldsaikhan described the portrait of the painter Soosai, saying he was a very talented person, not appreciated in his time. Do you remember what kind of person he was?
-He was a free, lively, spiritual and very talented artist, who did not like to be flattered, and did not flatter himself. He was very fond of sweets, I remember Tugs-Oyun and I would come to visit him with a bag of candies and talk. And how beautifully he danced. It was said that the legs of his trousers spun beautifully when he danced because he sewed in coins there at the bottom. Well, of course, the weighted trousers looked beautiful in the dance movement. In general, as an artist, he looked for visual beauty in everything. At that time, I exhibited one of my works at an exhibition of young artists, with a note “For Soosai”. And another renowned artist asks me: “How friendly are you with Soosai?”, I am replying: “admired since my student days”, and he has somehow disliked me ever since.

What period of history do you like the most?
– I like the modern time best. I feel like now is the time I’ve always wanted. Compared to today, my parents’ generation lived a miserable life. There was nowhere to hang out together, so sometimes they would gather at someone’s home, there was no enough variety of food. Buuz was considered only a festive dish. When I think that the youth of my parents’ generation worked tirelessly and for a long time under false slogans, for example, on a five-year plan, and without a place, opportunity and conditions for realization of their young aspirations, I think they experienced a sad time. And my youthhood did not escape a touch of that time. When I was young, I made my first nude painting and sculpture. It was a sculpture and a picture of a male body. And in the newspaper “Mongolyn zaluuchuudyn unen” criticized me for advertising nudity. A person from the culture department called and said something like: “you are a young woman, what are you portraying? If it happens again, you will be deprived of the right to draw”. Well, how I would keep silent to this, so I said: “There is no artist in the world who did not draw a nude.” And the official: “Who taught the bourgeois art to you? Is this professor Amgalan?” After such an attitude, I decided to draw only for myself. And then came the nineties, in 1992 my first exhibition took place. Through it I wanted to show to people only beauty around us.

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