Culture, art, Interview

E.Myagmardorj: There is a bigger opportunity to learn the Mongol script online than to learn it traditionally. 

We are bringing you an interview with the President of the "Mongolian Contemporary Art Calligraphy Association" and the principal of the "Hun Naran" Mongolian script learning center, E.Myagmardorj. 

  • When did you establish the "Mongolian Contemporary Art Calligraphy Association" and the "Hun Naran" Mongolian script learning center? Do your learning centers teach all the facets of Mongolian script? 

We created the "Mongolian Contemporary Art Calligraphy Association" in June of 2021. It is the modern artistic leanings of Humanity in the 21st century. Dance and painting have moved into a contemporary direction and have incorporated many aspects of the art form. And so we created this association to further develop the Mongolian script in a contemporary style and direction.

Our goal is to show the true wonder and majesty of the Mongolian script to the world and to achieve this objective, we believe that artists and Mongolians as a whole should learn to write in our script. We realized that we should also teach and advertise our script to further our cause and so established the "Hun Naran" Mongolian script learning center in August that works complementary to the association. 

  • Recently people have started to take great interest in the Mongolian script and various government ministries have implemented dual-script policies to support our ancient writing system. Why did you come to name the learning center "Hun Naran"? 

In the 1990s there was a brief revival of the Mongolian script until the initiative was abandoned in favor of Cyrillic. I personally believe that artists who've utilized and incorporated the Mongolian script into their art have made a great impact that contributed to the amount of interest and focus directed to the Mongolian script by the government and public alike. In particular, teachers and calligraphers like the national children's center painter D.Batbayar and the often touted father of modern calligraphy D.Battumur deserve special thanks and credit. 

"Hun Naran" is a name that 'found itself' as we completed our pieces. Much like how talented and happy people radiate with tranquility and prosperity, we believe that someone who knows and appreciates their culture and traditions, such as the Mongolian script, would similarly radiate like a “Human Sun\Hun Naran". We also interpret the description of a Human as a Sun to be an honorary title for our people. 

  • How do you carry out your online lessons? Were the lessons included in the recent Mongolian script online solutions program? 

Our center offers a step-by-step program for learning the Mongolian script. What sets us apart from other programs is our accent and focus on online learning rather than in-person. Beginners will learn the letters of the script from applications on their phones and learn to write posts and comments on Facebook in the Mongolian script; an approach that is more effective. Rather than teaching the letter "A" from a whiteboard, the new generation is learning faster from online lessons. 

  • Has the COVID pandemic affected in-person teaching for your center? Are you implementing mixed in-person and online teaching? 

Our center's co-founder N.Tserendavaa has graduated from the Mongolian National University of Education. We are currently undertaking our 4th program. From this, we can see that our approach is successful. We have lessons in classrooms and online. Although many say that the quality of lessons is less in online lessons, this approach is more suitable to our approach. Students from foreign countries, as well as Mongolians, are able to take part in the lessons.

Our center teaches 14 hours of content in the span of 30 days. When we say that we offer a comprehensive course, many interpret this as all the content being taught in one sitting. But we teach little by little, one step at a time. 

We plan to include professional calligraphy lessons in our course in the future. We are developing a course to teach students with beginner to intermediate understanding calligraphy courses. 

  • In accordance with the 3rd National program, have you applied for aid from government ministries and has this issue been resolved? 

We have sent an application to the ministry of culture in lieu of their implementation of the dual-script policy (Cyrillic and Mongolian)

  • Can you tell us more about the credentials and expertise of your teachers? 

We are training and preparing our teachers. Our center opened in August 2021. And within this year, we will receive 1-2 more classes. We will continue our courses with improved programs in 2022. Currently, we have 2 teachers, a vice president and a president of the center. 

  • What are the tuition costs and the salaries of the teachers? 

We fund the teachers' salaries from the tuition fees of students. As we have just started operations, we are working hard to succeed.

  • What is the general age range that contacts you about the programs?

The students in the program range are as young as in the fifth grade to as old as fifty. There are no age requirements. Recently we have had an upsurge in inquiries from 40+ individuals. Young students also have a great interest in our classes.

  • How many people have currently graduated from the course? 

The first group of graduates was 6 people, we have a total of 20 now.

  • What are the main challenges in running this organization? 

Since we have just started, we are facing trouble with housing and office space. We are currently teaching in our workshops. There are some advantages and shortcomings of operating in a workshop. For students interested in calligraphy, the workshop is a good fit. 

Since our workshop is quite small, we take in a small number of students. If we continue our courses productively and if the students are happy with the product then we are confident that we will continue our operations. 

  • How is people's perception and attitude regarding the Mongolian script? 

People's perceptions have changed quite a bit and this is connected to the government's commitment to implement a dual-script policy nationwide by 2025 as well as the consistent support of the government in calligraphic and other cultural exhibitions. This has resulted in a general interest in learning the Mongolian script.

  • What is your profession and how did you come to connect with the Mongolian script? 

I am an artist that works with metallurgy. I have been learning Mongolian script since the first grade and have been practicing calligraphy for 10 years. 

  • Can you share with us your recent works? 

I own and operate fine arts and calligraphy store called "Ulaanbaatar artele\art team" on the B1 floor of the Ulaanbaatar mall. To be honest, I not only sell my own pieces but also pieces of young artists and work to spread the culture of calligraphy and advertise the workings of our learning center.

  • Have you ever held a calligraphy gallery? 

I am currently working on my pieces and preparing. It gets more complex as I work harder to understand the Mongolian script. I try to improve my pieces and this has resulted in some delays. I plan to open my gallery in 2022. I regularly participate in calligraphy and fine arts galleries.

  • Please share with us your organization's future ambitions. 

We wish for more Mongolians to know and write in the Mongolian script and for it to become the official state script. My goal is to contribute to this. For me, the Mongolian script gave me discipline and character. What it is to be a Mongol, personal beliefs, the wisdom of our ancestors, and our traditional culture were taught to me by the Mongolian script. Some people see it simply as a writing system. But in the Mongol script, there lies the deep wisdom of our ancestors. And so I advocate that everyone learn the Mongolian script.

  • Are there any opportunities for your students to collaborate with our publication as becoming subscribers, and to cooperate with the "Humuun Bichig \ Human script" newspaper, and to create their environment to read Mongolian script? 

Of course. I want to say that I feel proud and thankful for your publication. I advocate that my students and Mongolians as a whole order and read from "Humuun Bichig" publications.

2021-10-14 16:09:46