J.Tomorbagana: I dream of creating a fountain as high as a ten-storey building

 J.Tomorbaganais a metal sculptor. God gave him talent in generous amounts. He is also a painter. When he was a student in Leningrad, he and other students sold their paintings on the street, and people admired and purchased his paintings from other students. J.Tomorbagana “scribbled” in ten minutes works that others would take a long time to create.Artist L.Ganbold said about him “J.Tomorbagana paints very well and he has natural ability. I asked him why you didn’t you choose to become a painter and he replied ‘I like being a metal sculptor.’ If he only did painting, he would be the best painter.”

J.Tomorbagana shared his thoughts about his work with us in the interview below.

-I heard that you participated in rebuilding the Megjid Janraisag. Can you tell us about this?

-People from the Ministry of Culture were researching how to rebuild the Megjid Janraisag (giant Buddhist statue that was destroyed in the 1930s) when I was studying in Russia. But they did not succeed with it because the statue represents a mixture of religions, such as Tibetan, India etc. Then the Culture Foundation was established in the middle of 1990 and decided to rebuild the Megjid Janraisag. Around 40 people, including carpenters, sculptors and painters rebuilt Janraisag over a period of five years.

-There is special discipline in creating a religious statue. What happens if you build it the wrong way?

-There is a special discipline required in creating religious statues. If you build them without this discipline, it will represent bad fortune. However, if you create it from your heart, it will be positive for you. Such a statue cannot be built by just anyone. You must not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes; otherwise it’s harmful to the artist who created the statue.

-Did you accumulate lot of merit through working on such statues?

-I have created around 30 religious statues now. I accumulated lot of merit (Buddhist blessings) through what I did. But in the ancient world merit and sin are balanced.

-Do artisans have inspiration, like painters and poets?

-Yes, of course. Artisans imagine what they would like to create. But artisans require teamwork. One is squeezing while another is casting, otherwise it takes a long time to create something.

-Is it inspiration that leads you to create, or plans?

-I like to “play” with metal through my feelings and create modern creations.  The value of modern creations exists in their meaning, not design. I created a sculpture titled “Angels of the Heaven” recently. It is complex, with the stamps of many horses and the head of a horse. I tried to express that there are many horses in one family under one stamp.

-You decorated the “Khaan door” of Marshall Bridge. How many creations have you created that are known to the public?

-From ancient times, Mongolians have adored stamps and keep them in special boxes. I depicted a horse that is carried on the stamps of 32 tribes. I participated in creating the State Nine White Banners. In addition, I created the statue of General B.Dorj in Zavkhan Province and the copper statue of hero D.Namnan in Khovd Province.

-You make lot of monuments, statues and decorations. Do you want to make something in Ulaanbaatar?

-I dream of building a huge fountain in the city center. If it is built as I wish, the fountain will be as tall as a ten storey building and will be 40 meters in diameter.

-You use iron on your creations. Isn’t iron more poisonous that gold and silver?

-Iron and steel are very hard metals. They are not as flexible as gold and silver. Iron work is work that tests a man’s physical strength. It is very difficult to beat iron and sit in the smoke and noise. My arm muscles ache. Also, the poison from iron has affected me badly in recent times.

-Is it possible that creations made with cheap materials with nice design could be more expensive than creation made with gold and silver?  

-The value of a creation depends on its design, material, sense, and composition. Creations made with steel can be more expensive than golden ones. Because steel is solid.

-You have around 40 apprentices. Have they become good artisans?  

-There are many talented people, but there is no best metal sculptor. This is because they did not study professional metal classes.

-What do you think about the work of artisans in foreign countries? 

-Metal ateliers in Europe have complex tools and equipment. The artisans like things that are made with iron.  In addition, they prefer to make things by hand, not with machines.


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Posted by on Feb 28 2013. Filed under Arts & Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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