Thursday, August 21, 2014

Taking art to Outer Mongolia

Sheffield’s Panni Poh Yoke Loh is someone who believes in engaging with her fellow artists around the world and as a result has shown her work far and wide.

She has just returned from exhibiting in Outer Mongolia to find that her painting, Nightfall Over Burngreave, has been accepted for a major exhibition in China in the autumn. In the meantime she has work on show in South Korea.

Panni Loh has been a member for 15 years of the International Women Artists Council whose biennial exhibition, Her Presence in Colours XI, was held in the Mongolian capital, Ulaan Batoor.

She invited fellow Sheffield artist Sue Bateman to exhibit alongside 120 female artists from 18 countries including Mongolia, the Far East, Russia, Egypt, Germany and the USA.

Panni’s picture, Birth, was painted on the first day of her grand daughter’s life and by contrast Sue’s painting, Last Spring, was inspired by her mother at the end of her life.

“Ït’s semi-abstract in the style of Howard Hodgkin and is based on photographs of my mother who lived until she was 98 and liked to look out of the window of her care home looking at lambs in the field,” explains the artist.

The event included a seminar, The Expression of Love in Women’s Art, at which Panni presented a paper Creating Meaningful Visibility celebrating British women artists and urging the delegates to make themselves seen and be heard in their own countries.

The trip included two night out in a ger (yurt) where the visitors enjoyed watching the national ballet, meeting an eagle, going horse-riding and trying out Mongolian archery.

“Other highlights were watching a Naddam festival of horseracing, Mongolian traditional throat singing, and wrestling – with the winners throwing out the delicacy of dried sheep’s cheese into the crowd,” reports Panni.

“Particularly memorable was one girl who raced on horseback with the boys.

“It is an amazing country of great plains, talented artists, musicians, singers and sports people, and I plan to go back.”

Sue concurs: “It’s a wonderful country which exceeded our expectations. And it was great to go all that way and meet people from different cultures and find we are similar in so many ways.”

Panni Loh, who gained a PhD in 2010 from Manchester Metropolitan University andworks as a researcher for Sheffield Hallam University while continuing with her art practice and working in community arts.

She is now preparing for the Garden of Flame exhibition at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea next month.

Then she will show Nightfall Over Burngreave, a view from her back garden “showing the beauty of the city lights that in turn cause light pollution” at the Qingdao biennial on the theme The Pulse of the City in the Eastern China city from September 22.

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