Our Artist of the Month for September and October is Blair Folts (She is in the middle of the photo looking up), artist and environmentalist from Effingham. She will be displaying postcards that she brought both to and from the nomads who live on the steppes of Western Mongolia.
When I first traveled to Mongolia in 2006, I was surprised that the nomads I met asked me to write to them.“Where?” I thought–there were no streets where they lived on the steppe plus they move 3-5 times a year. But write I did and over the past few years, I have often thought about this. How does a culture which is still largely nomadic deal with the transition to the digital age where messages are instant and often not very personal? Is electronic messaging superior to the “post” or are we missing a key intimacy that is exchanged through the transfer of an object–from hand to hand over land, air and sea–such as the postcard? Through the Mongolia Postcard Project, I have been able to pursue my own art and have also engaged people I met on the journey to be a part of this search “back to the pencil and handwritten note.”
Folts invited friends, artists, and colleagues to participate in the project by creating postcards which she could take to the Mongolian herders. In 2009, she traveled to Mongolia, showing people she met along the way the postcards and inviting them to create a postcard on the spot, which was then mailed back to the participants in America.
Folts will give a talk at the library about this project at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14th.