My name is Erdenesuren Tsogtsaikhan. I am a Mongolian American cross-disciplinary artist, art management professional and Mongolian Shaman. I was born on the steppes of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in 1990 and grew up in Budapest, Hungary during the downfall of Communism. I immigrated to the United States my family at the age of 8. I am an alumni of Denver School of the Arts (2008), having attained my B.F.A (2012) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University. I am based in Denver and mindscape Mongolia but live bi-coastally in the US. As of Fall 2018, I have officially started pursuing my graduate degree journey.
I am represented by Leon Gallery in Denver, Hive Gallery in Los Angeles and Red Ger Gallery in Mongolia. 2018 has been somewhat of a momentous time in my career after years of hard work I gained professional gallery representation from locally renowned Leon Gallery and had a successful one-woman solo art exhibition featuring all new never before seen series of works. The show was entitled “Wrong Women, Myths From Sky” and ran from February 17th to March 31st, 2018 at Leon Gallery.
Throughout my art career, I have had numerous art shows, orchestrated various curatorial projects and had the privilege to attend prestigious national/international art residencies throughout the United States. Alongside pursuing my artistic practice, I work part time as the Creative Director at the Mongolian Culture and Heritage Center of Colorado, the first non-profit cross-cultural organization of its kind founded in Denver. I am also a published author of two books and founder of “HiliteDreamer” contemporary apparel line. I am currently in process of completing my first international documentary animation film project between Colorado and Mongolia, due to release in 2020.
Having been born into an art family, art and creativity is my life. In 2008, I graduated Denver School of the Arts as a seven year Visual Arts major. I was undocumented and lived under the poverty line at the time. I had no means aspire for a hopeful future, but I believed in myself wholeheartedly and proceeded to fight the system in pursuit of my higher educational aspirations. Thanks to the strength of my art and academic record, I gained a full merit art scholarship to School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in affiliation with Tufts University and graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 2012.
As an immigrant originating from the margins of society, I have instilled in me an enduring level of survival rigor, work ethic, and drive for security and self betterment derived from all the hardships dealt and overcome in my life. I strongly believe in the power of education to defy against gender, career and economic societal constraints. I want to live a life fulfilled and support myself through doing what I love.
I was exiled from my country at a young age and immigrated to the United States (Colorado) with my family at the age of 8 in 1999. Up until the age of 20, I was considered an undocumented alien without any valid forms of identification. For many years, I had no social security, credit card, driver’s license or any means to acquire vital documents needed to build the basics of life in America. I was invisible to the system. My lack of documents has hindered the quality of my life in America. After high school, I had no means to afford higher education. I had no social security and could not apply to any jobs regardless of my over qualification of skills. I had to resort to working “under the table” and obtain jobs that only paid in cash since middle school. When it came time for my college education, fortunately I had a great art portfolio among superb academic grades. I was accepted into School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University on a full ride scholarship based purely on the strength and merit of my art portfolio. I received my college education thanks to my art, which taught me the importance of how meritorious it can be to develop and excel at a skill of yourown.
I am diversity embodied. I identify as a DACA applicant and a minority, woman artist of color coming from an underrepresented cultural community. I suffer from extenuating financial hardship inside a politically binding system that is out of my control. Coming from an immigrant family and being a first generation immigrant myself, I have survived thus far in the system by learning to live in repression and fear. At one end, fear and the lack of opportunities dictate my choices and the way I navigate my life in America but at the other end, I have learned to become resourceful and to earn my place/fight hard for my dreams. Like a badge of honor, I have fought teeth and bone for everything I have in my life today, nothing was handed to me. There were many difficult periods in my life where my family and I barely got by having had to survive on food stamps and community assistance programs for the poor.
But regardless of my legal label or handicap financial status, I take refuge and a sense of equality in my human rights. I am a Mongolian American woman artist of color and minority who continues to be unfairly marginalized with all that I do in my life. I try my best not to let the derogatory, discriminatory surface labels affect my inner freedom as a world citizen. I wholeheartedly believe in myself, my potential and the power of my art to positively contribute to society but need the platform, the means to be heard and supported.
In 2012, Obama’s administration approved the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA). In 2013, I was granted “temporary status protection” under the DACA policy since I immigrated into the US at a young age; I was admissible under all the required policy regulations. I was finally given a social security card but because DACA is still just a policy and does not grant a “permanent change of status”, I am still considered undocumented in the eyes of the law. This means I continue to be restrained and limited in all that I can legally do/receive benefit wise from the US government which limits the quality of life I can have in America, creating an economically deprecating, handicap lifestyle margin.
After Trump presidency came into administration, my DACA status and future in America has become even more critically jeopardized. I now hinge on a completely uncertain future as to whether or not my DACA protection will indefinitely continue to extend or not. I live in constant political turbulence but take full refuge in the hope and serenity of my art practice to feel human, and to golden opportunities of education as a way to afford myself a hopeful future in self-government.
My ever-revolving identity as a first generation Mongolian American nomadic voyeur profoundly shapes my artistic process and approach to life. My artworks act as part biographical expose, portraying the universal psychological inner journey of the marginal identity. I seek to help transform the lives of others through the power of art by way of empathy, inspiration, and empowerment
Eriko Tsogo is a Mongolian American visual artist and filmmaker born on the steppes of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Eriko grew up in Budapest, Hungary and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 8. She is an alumni of Denver School of the Arts (2008), having attained her B.F.A (2012) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University. She is based in Denver and mindscape Mongolia but lives bi-coastally in the US. Eriko has had numerous art shows, curatorial projects and art residencies throughout the United States. Alongside pursuing her artistic practice, Eriko works as the Creative Director at the Mongolian Culture and Heritage Center of Colorado. She is also a published author and founder of “HiliteDreamer”contemporary apparel line. She is currently in process of completing her first international documentary animation film project between Colorado and Mongolia, due to release in 2019. Eriko’s ever-revolving identity as a first generation Mongolian American nomadic voyeur profoundly shapes her artistic process. Her artworks act as part biographical expose, portraying the universal psychological inner journey of the marginal identity thereby helping transform through the power of empathy, inspiration, and empowerment.