Modern petroglyphs capture Mongolian history and craftsmanship traditions


Under the auspices of the President of Mongolia and UNESCO, the international Rock Art: History, Memory and Dialogue conference was held on May 30 and 31, at Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel.

During the conference, artist Sh.Tengisbold’s petroglyph artwork was displayed. The following is a brief interview with Sh.Tengisbold.

You presented your artwork at the Rock Art: History, Memory, and Dialogue. Your latest work is related to petroglyphs, isn’t it?

Yes. Currently, I have a mission to create 53 petroglyphs, which will be presented to the state heads of 53 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) countries.

Mongolia is about to organize the ASEM Summit soon. During the ASEM Summit, it is very important to promote Mongolia. There is study that shows that there are over 50,000 petroglyphs in Mongolia, engraved on every single mountain. The most important thing about petroglyphs is that we need to read and understand the histories of people who were living 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.

So, it is very important to promote rock art. That’s why the state decided to give my petroglyph works to international state heads.

It must be a very lucky opportunity for you, since not every artist is given this chance.

Of course it is. I think that it is a very unique opportunity, because the petroglyphs I create will be shown in several countries. There is no artist like me who has been able to give their artwork to the state heads of 53 countries. For example, Pablo Picasso’s artworks aren’t in 53 countries. I see this as a very big opportunity.

At the beginning of the interview, you said you had a mission. But artists do their work through their skill and talent, not for a mission. Is that’s why your petroglyphs are so interesting?

Artists are free people compared to people in other professions. We can grow our hair and beards as long as we want, but sometimes we have to do things for a mission. I am a little bit nervous about my current mission, because my artwork will represent the country.

You’ve traveled around most of the territories of Mongolia to study petroglyphs. Was this difficult?

No, because I like my job. Study is the most important part of our job. When I see an ancient petroglyph, I feel like a person who was living 30,000 to 40,000 years ago is calling me and asking me to uncover the secrets of their petroglyph and capture it.

In recent years, there is too much information available about everything. Artists need to find the right information, but finding the right information is a little bit difficult. So, studying well is the best.