Artist Eriko Tsogo Grapples With Identity, Displacement And DACA

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Photo: Eriko Tsogo
Artist Eriko Tsogo, who splits her time between California and Colorado, at Leon gallery in Denver on Feb. 18, 2018.

Artist Eriko Tsogo often longs for her home country of Mongolia, which she and her family fled due to political unrest in the country. She hasn't been able to go back and visit, partially because of her immigration status in the United States.

Her struggles with identity and displacement show up in her art, which you can see right now at Leon gallery in Denver. From her artist statement at Leon:

Through my work, I seek to explore the conflicting psycho-spiritual, cultural and disjointed effects/ emotional middle space of globalization on marginalized identities with attention to woman’s issues; one who perpetually lives both in war and peace within two worlds, in both of which more or less a stranger.

Tsogo tells Colorado Matters the family arrived in the U.S. in 1999, after living for a time in Hungary, and came straight to Colorado, which she said there was a growing Mongolian community that gravitated towards places reminiscent of Mongolia itself. Nature, weather, and climate-wise, Colorado felt similar to Mongolia.

In 2012, she was able to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that the Obama Administration put in place via executive order. Under the Trump Administration, the fate of DACA, and Tsogo’s immigration status, are up in the air. Her response? Tsogo has become much more public with her art. She’s says she’s tired of living in fear.

​Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story gave the reason for Tsogo's family leaving Mongolia as "the country gaining independence and upheaval following the collapse of the Soviet Union." Mongolia declared its independence in 1911. Here's more on that history.