Paying tribute to Mongolia’s history and cultural heritage through his magical paintings, Zaya (born 1975) is a Mongolian artist that blends traditional painting with contemporary Asian art. He was born under the name of Zayasaikhan Sambuu, in a small town in the Gobi desert, where the teachings of Buddhism and the vividness of Tibetan art fascinated him. For a while, Zaya even wanted to become a monk.
Zaya’s main inspiration has always been nomadic women, their elegance, selflessness and strength, in his view, being god-like. The women in his paintings are often based on royal historical figures from Mongolia’s past, with their costumes carefully documented.
This is what Zaya had to say about the role of women in his art:
“I believe I may have found the real deity to draw. And that deity is Women. Especially, Mongolia’s nomadic women, their close relations with nature, their hard life out on the harsh Mongolian steppe, their unique inner-world, and the customs and traditions they carry on, give me tremendous inspiration and subject matter for most of my work. Through the distinctive features of those Mongolian women’s expressions, I try to tell a secret that has never been told, of happiness and misery, of humanity’s relations with nature, and of history and contemporary lives and how they connect with us.”
You can view more of Zaya’s paintings here.