“The reason why I paint Buddhist themed art is that I like to paint what is close to my heart and what makes me happy. As an artist my Buddhist practice is my main motivator.” ~ Soyolmaa Davaakhuu
The Mongolian artist Soyolmaa Davaakhuu was born the third daughter of artist parents in 1977. She grew up in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, and studied art at the University of Culture and Art, Ulaanbaatar from 1995 to 1998.
In 2001 she become a member of the Union of Mongolian Artists, the most prestigious art society in the country.
Since then she has had a number of solo and collaborative exhibitions in both Mongolian and overseas prestigious galleries in such countries as the USA, Canada, South Korea, Vietnam and the UK.
Her work, from traditional to surreal, is always transformative, exploring themes of dreaming and awakening, the hidden and revealed, and more often than not, celebrates enlightenment manifesting in feminine form.
“The reason why I paint Buddhist themed art is that I like to paint what is close to my heart and what makes me happy.
Mongolia has an ancient history of flourishing of Buddhism. Therefore Buddhism has influenced our art and culture, history and customs, and everything else.
As an artist my Buddhist practice is my main motivator.
I was always very interested in Dharma scriptures and started to read them when I was in high school. In 1998 I became a disciple of my own guru and learnt much more.
I started to paint when I was four years old by seeing the example of my parents. My father was a traditional Mongolian artist and so I did the same until I went to university and studied western styles of painting.
Now my paintings use both eastern and western styles and techniques.
For me painting is everything. It is my tranquillity, happiness, wisdom and meditation.”
Soyolmaa is known for her eclectic approach to art and Buddhism, moving between traditional Mongolian Buddhist arts to contemporary urban expressionism and surrealism, expressing the meaning of life through her own experience of Buddhist teachings on Enlightenment and emptiness.
She works in many different media including paint, applique, embroidery, masks, puppetry, costumes and sculpture. In addition Soyolmaa has illustrated a number of books published in Mongolia and images of her painting can be seen on covers of a dozen more books.
Currently she lives in Mongolia working from her arts studio in Ulaanbaatar.