Get a close-up look at the skateboarders taking over Ulaanbaatar with this photo series.
Photographer Bejan Siavoshy’s shots of up-and-coming Mongolian skate crew Uukhai are funny, touching, and gritty all at once. Currently based in Beijing, Siavoshy depicts the fresh faces and playful energy of these young skaters with a careful eye for detail, paying as much attention to background details as he does to a well-executed jump.
According to Siavoshy, Uukhai is likely the most prominent skating crew in Mongolia. He explains that skating “is just burgeoning in Mongolia, as are many other contemporary subcultures.”
“In Mongolia, skateboarding is still seen as a kid’s past-time—nothing that someone approaching adulthood should take seriously. So these young cats who are involved in Uukhai are constantly butting heads with traditional and societal views of what being an adult in Mongolia is supposed to entail.”
Currently, more than half the population of Mongolia is under thirty. As Siavoshy points out, this young generation is the first to come of age in a democratic Mongolia “removed from the country’s communist past.”
The growing popularity of skateboarding in Ulaanbaatar is one example of the ways in which young Mongolians are exploring new modes of self-expression.
Uukhai is also working to bring the opportunity to skate to more young people. The collective has registered as an NGO, raising money to get boards to kids who can’t afford them.