Gobi Heaven- Int’l Art Show : What the Artists Say

Gobi Heaven festival August 2019

The first of the Gobi Heaven festivals was held in Bayan Nur, Inner Mongolia August 6-11 2019. This is the first of five annual festivals .

The International artist camp, curated by Suzanne Matz included various happenings alongside the exhibition hall. Apart from the indoor exhibition there were  out door art installations, impromptu art performances, music,  belly dancing, bilingual poetry happenings, rap workshop,  environmental  workshops, meditation  and visualization workshops.  I presented a workshop on Image and Memory in Space – Memory Palace workshop ….more on that in the next post.  

Inside the international Artist Exhibition hall during the rain shower

This post will take a very brief overview of only some of these events and artworks around the International artists camp. I will also post other links at the bottom of this post for further reference.

What The Artists Say

Michael St Amand
Michael St Amand

Michael St Amand

What the artist says :

Humankind has a need for expression and communication and a need for art — though some may not realize or appreciate it, art is invasive in our daily lives. Art makes us stop and think, it expresses our growth as a planet and necessitates a desire, fills a void and advances our thinking as a society.


Shadeless Emperor : artist Crow
Shadeless Emperor Crow


What the artist says :

A tree serves multiple functions during its lifetime, providing shade , converting photo energy to bio energy, cleaning air ect.  These Emperors of Nature are being chopped down for short term use or single use leaving a shadow of memory behind. The first row of four are true wooden trunk stumps with original life rings,  the next row of four are already covered in concrete dust unable to continue respiration, the following four are made of concrete  and the last row the tree has totally vanished. No Nature No Life.


Niamh Cunningham

What the artist says:

Woodblock Coinneseur CC acrylic Niamh Cunningham /瑞莲 2019
Portraits at Gobi Heaven Woodblock Coinneseur and Friend to Many
Friend to Many CC 100x100cm acrylic on canvas , Niamh Cunningham 2019

This year I am developing my chromed portrait series posting a portrait on my website every Sunday afternoon throughout 2019. These portraits I hope will allow viewers to question perceived understanding of representation. They play with notions of transformation and repetition. Things are not always as you think they should be when you read a face. Both these portraits are of outstanding curators I have worked with in some capacity during my early years here in China: Claire Cuccio and Catherine Cheng.


SunGate, Niko de al Faye
SunGate , with Tribal Dancer INKO , installation by Niko de la Faye

Niko de la Faye

What the artist says:

This ancient dial allows sun rays to go through the entire cuboid structure. Black and white equally cover the surface of the installation recalling Taoist ‘Yin Yang’ symbol. I completed the composition by placing in the center a pierced mirror triangle. From sunrise to sunset light draws SUN GATE continuously rotating and changing its shadow on the ground marking time …just as its ancestor did.


Collaborative project by Hui Li Hui and Li Jiarui
Collaboration by Hui Li and Li Jiarui

Hui Li & Li JiaRui

What the artists say:

The moon is a combination of discarded scraps, repeated stacking and extracting the most shiny parts. The part that is abandoned and forgotten is equally important and has the same value yet it is an unexpected value.


Li Chao 1
Li Chao 2

 Li Chao

What the artist says:

Gobi Heaven was  an unprecedented experience, everyone with their own torch, like a passionate fire lighting up our shared paradise. One of my works, “The Light of the City,” is like a lightning bolt in the darkness of this universe. Above this desert paradise, it also carries the feelings and ideals of all of us.


Artworks by RoXi
Li Xinmo with works by RoXi

RoXi-  Li Xinmo and Roland Von Der Emden

What the artists say :

We jointly create and curate art as the artistic duo ROXI. At the Gobi Heaven project, we showcase our collaborative media art project which combines video, performance art, painting and sculpture.


Francesca Mitterrand 1
Francesca Mitterrand 2

Francesca Mitterand

What the artist says :

Gestural abstraction is my art and improvisation is leading my path. All the mystery of an abstract painting is within one brushstroke, it strikes the canvas creating a struggle of lines and splashes in search of a true spontaneous form. And when this struggle succeeds a new painting is created. My paintings are my autobiography I express my life and my feeling without using words.


Legend of Heaven : Munkh – Erdene

Artist Munkh working on his installation


“Legend of heaven”

Since the beginning of time, each ethnic tribe had its own animal power totem. The wolf is regarded as the ancestor of the Mongolians with the ancient scripts supporting this fact. There are various descriptions of wolf supremacy. Therefore kings since the Hun dynasty have been using stamps and seals with the figure of mighty wolves which reign over the vast steppe. Hark the call of the wolf and the pulsation of life, this king of the grasslands howling to the sky, lead our gods and souls to the depths of the distant sky.


Silk Pavillion Miranda Vukasovic . 1
Silk Pavillion Miranda Vukasovic 2

Miranda Vukasovic

What the artist says:
Silk Pavilion is an oasis of colour in the desert assembled from a rainbow spectrum . Through a double layer of transparent silk bolts, visitors see the colors oscillating in the wind and listen to the live music I play in the heart of this spectrum of colors.


Art Biennalle of Left behind Children, Tami Xiang video 5 Mins
Art Biennalle of Left behind Children, video still, Tami Xiang

Tami Xiang

What the artist says :

In April 2019, I organized an ‘Art Biennale’ for Left Behind Children drawing in the countryside of Chongqing Municipality. These children are raised by their grand parents or great grand parents, they have never been trained to draw previously , here they were encouraged to draw their lives, families and dreams and later they installed an exhibition on the ruins of their hometown.


Yan Yinghong

Yan Yinghong

What the artist says :

In 1987 my father and I carried tents sleeping bags along the Yellow River from Beijing via Hohhot and Ordos, Cross the Urat Qianqi Bayan Nur, cross the Wuhai to Yinchuan, from the Qingtong Gorge to Wuzhong, cross the Lanzhou Road to Gannan, south-bound Qu, Maqu straight to the source of the Yellow River. All the way facing the wind and sleeping on the moors , we burned torches to keep the wolves out , the leader of the pack howled and retreated. Thirty two years after that event in the Gobi dunes I have been invited to participate at the Gobi Heaven Festival. So many thoughts, may the storm in the Gobi wash my wounded artistic soul .


Animated Dialogues video 7 mins Nina Dillenz

Nina Dillenz

What the artist says

This video is an experimental series of photos consisting of six scans of analogue photographs, taken over the past four years in various places in China, in which movement and dramatic effects are added to single elements of otherwise static images. The series seeks to navigate memory by tampering with it. All scans are animated on two layers, one representative of how one might be tempted to remember – full of bright color and exaggerated symbolism –  and the other layer suggesting the subconscious as barely visible movement. Can past moments truly be “defrosted” at will?


Performers INKO and Datu
Performers INKO and Datu

Tribal dancer : INKO

What the artist says:

My dance form is based on a fusion of oriental, Indian and flamenco, it is a celebration of the strength, sensuality and sacredness of the female body, and its deep connection with other women but also with the cycles of Nature. Combining dance, poetry, singing, theatre and other body art forms, my creations are mostly an obsessive attempt to answer this question : “How magic, love and nature can survive and be reinvented throughout modernity?”


The Workshops

Anthony Tao : Bi Lingual poetry workshop

Anthony Tao presents a bilingual poetry happening

Niamh Cunningham : Memory Palace Workshop

Image , space and Memory the Memory Palace workshop Niamh Cunningham

Joe Harvey : A New and freer Lifestyle

Joe Harvey from Bulk House presents an event on reducing wasteful consumption

Jian Shoafeng and Biyuanfei : Rap workshop

Jian Shoafeng and Biyuanfei : Rap workshop
INKO, Yan Yinghong &Tuguo , from Int’l camp with installation by
艾松 /Ai Song
Sunrise at the international artists camp

Thank you to all the great people at Gobi in particular at the artists at the international camp and others including Nermin Jassin and Joyce Liu (Liu Qing 刘青) and Alphabetes (Duan Wenyu) for their readiness to help and their outstanding company . It was six days very well lived. A big thank you to Roland Van den Emden and Li Xinmo for their expertise with installation issues along with Li Jia Rui and Chen and Wang Yang. A huge thank you to Susanne Matz for her months of preparation and hard work to ensure these happenings at the International artists Camp, to Susanne’s assistant Suixin/ Camel for her skillful trouble shooting , to Chen Le for the music and spectacular music stages (more photos on this to follow) and to Gobi Heaven CEO XueSong for the immense planning required to produce this one of a kind festival .

Next posts are :

Gobi Heaven: Walkabout (more photos of the artworks and installations around the festival grounds)

Gobi Heaven: Memory Palace workshop: ( a little insight to an ancient art)

A few people of International art camp with curator Suzanna Matz on far right

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