Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

Mongolian Graffiti


Ancient Hunter, SAS Group
Here is a selection of paintings found on various walls and buildings. They vary from illicit scribbles to sanctioned public art projects, some even part of internationally attended street art festivals, so strictly speaking many of these images go way beyond graffiti. Still, in the medium's origins and in its current practice, there is an attempt by its creators for it to be seen as renegade art, as it is in urban areas around the world.

Surely there are many common themes and styles among graffiti artists, and even cross-pollination with artists in other countries. (A url painted above one image led me to Cayn Sanchez, a Spanish artist.) Among the political and outspoken, the fantastical and the unintelligible, are also the juvenile and cute, the kinds of things that made me shudder when coming from first year drawing students.
Meta-Meta Graffiti
In that way, Mongolian graffiti is similar to our graffiti, though it has a much older heritage. Reproduced on this lamp post are the kinds of images that were painted or chiseled in stone throughout the country by Mongolians many hundreds of years ago, across the span of several written languages. At the base of this lamp post, with its fake graffiti, is the real thing, in florescent pink marker.

The images that strike me as being the most unusual here are the ones that depict Mongol warriors from eight centuries ago. I have in my head a picture of my grandfather. Formal and proper, rounded collar, discrete tie and rimless glasses, his image is the last thing I would expect to see painted on a brick wall, surrounded by pro-American slogans. It would be about as likely as seeing, in urban Detroit, a painting of George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac, or for that matter, chopping down a cherry tree. But this is not America, and here there is a different reverence for the past, a homogenous racial makeup that makes for a history that is shared without irony. And so, what would be so unusual in the United States turns out to be so common here.

Close Story—Back to Pictures

Mongolian Graffiti

Click below to page through enlarged images or read the story.

2141130-001
Two Worlds

2141130-005
Audrey Hepburn, Mongol Warrior

2141202-205
Bird Woman

2141209-013
Crows

2141202-202
Snow Leopard, Camel

2141210-046
Camel With Pipe

2141209-005
Archer

2141209-006
Ancient Warrior

2141209-016
United

2141209-014
Pepsi Spray Bug

2141209-022
Angry Guys with Pipes

2141209-019
Friendship

2141209-027
We Are Mongolian

2141210-003
Ancient Times, Beijing Street

2141210-007
Family Portraits

2141210-008
Traditional Dress

2141212-028
Chinggas Khaan

2141212-027
Charlie Says Relax

2130610-156
Time Barrier

2141212-049
Warriors, Public Art

2141212-035
Cool Cow on Arts Street

2141213-008
Cow with Mask

2141212-060
Together

2141212-071
Portrait

2141213-005
Mongolian Horse


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