MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — In an undisclosed location in Manatee County, the stars from the Bishop Museum’s Dino Don’s DinoVenture dinosaur exhibition have been coming to get R&R and R&R.
That’s rest and relaxation, along with rips and repairs. See, that’s how they fix things.
Engineers move through a strategically made rip to fix the robot parts that move these life-sized dinosaurs’ parts.
And the person that fixes the rip is an artist of international renown.
Gankhuyag Natsag’s nickname is Ganna.
He is the keeper of these creatures—a traditional Mongolian mask maker who arrived here in the U.S. as a cultural envoy in 2002.
Natsag says he began working with Dino Don on an exhibition about Genghis Khan in the aughts, and they have maintained their relationship.
Natsag oversees the artistic restoration of these robotic dinosaurs, along with Dino Don’s other fantastical creatures, from mammoths to dragons!
It’s for all of his various North American exhibitions
“The whole of my life I am making art,” says Natsag, walking past some Ice Age animals. "This now is totally different of course.”
These creatures come to the farm for a little break—or because of one.
When the robotic motor stopped working on a wooly mammoth’s trunk, Natsag and his team cut it open—through the skin, foam and into the metal frame—to fix it.
Now, sealing up one of these repair openings is a two-part process.
It’s needle and thread over glued seams—easy for Natsag as he learned to sew very young. His mother was a seamstress.
“We had 10 brothers and sisters and everyone sewing in home,” said Natsag. He was number four.
Natsag then goes to work painting over the repairs so it looks alive.
Natsag lives in the Washington, D.C. area where he takes part in cultural exchanges.
It’s through this experience of mending ancient monsters that Natsag gets to keep showing the world a little piece of Mongolia, even in Manatee County.
“Talking with people. Meet[ing] with people, share our culture. That’s wonderful,” said Natsag.