John Feely

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Ulaanbaatar

The stories that we see and the stories that we’ve heard are never the same. The longer I observe life in Ulaanbataar the truer this becomes. What I saw when I first came here years ago was surreal and exotic. Over time it became daily and regular. Eventually it became something of its very own. Over time I realised that Ulaanbataar, the capital of Mongolia, holds secrets.

Since late last century Mongols have been migrating directly from a traditional life in the countryside to Ulaanbataar. Much of what is transmitted into the city no longer exists in developed countries — in what we call advanced societies. Ulaanbataar tells the story of nature in a modern place, and what one takes away from the other.

What was seen did not change, it had been there all along acting as a background, overlooked and blurred.

Nature is content being invisible, to any pair of eyes. Nothing is a secret unless I make it so. It’s this loss of this dimension from where I’m from that has always drawn me to Mongolia. When making this work I often find myself wondering what becomes of what can no longer be seen? And, can I no longer see these parts of myself?


Work in progress. Temporarily on hold due to COVID-19.

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