Kristin McCain

Major: Art History
Herron School of Art and Design

The Impact of Tradition on Post-Socialist Street Art in Mongolia

Under Soviet oppression in Mongolia, artists sought to represent their cultural heritage even under strict censorship, leading to the development of a revolutionary style called Mongol Zurag. After Mongolia established democracy in 1990, many artists in Mongolia, such as street artists in Ulaanbaatar, found ways to incorporate traditional folklore elements, Buddhist iconography and symbolism from their cultural heritage into new Mongolian art. These contemporary artists blend global cultural ideas with tradition to form impactful pieces representing the artists' unique identities. Using a combination of historical study and visual analysis of street art, I explore the connections between contemporary street artists and the historical tradition of Mongolian art. Very little research has been done on contemporary artists in Mongolia, and this research will bring more attention and awareness to the rich cultural tradition of Mongolian art and how it has changed to fit a post-Socialist Democratic Mongolia.