The Many-Viced Arctic
A unique cultural project will tell about the peoples of the Russian Arctic and capture what their languages sound like22 may 2022
22.05.2022 // It is normal for Arctic cities and towns to be separated by thousands of kilometres. With such vast distances between them, residents of Arctic regions almost never see their high latitude neighbours. Showing what indigenous peoples of the North look like and how they live today is the main objective of the Children of the Arctic. Scenery of the North photo exhibition, which opened in Norilsk on Polar Explorer Day (21 May). Norilsk residents can learn about the cultural and linguistic features of 15 northern ethnic groups until the end of June.
All the photos showcased at the Children of the Arctic. Scenery of the North exhibition were made in 2021 during ten expeditions organised by the information and educational portal Children of the Arctic. The expedition visited the most remote corners of the Arctic that hardly ever see outsiders and captured the lives of 15 indigenous peoples of the North. The professional photos depict the Koryaks, Itelmens, Evenki, Dolgans, Nganasans, Enets, Chukchi, Inuit, Evenki, Yukaghirs, Nenets, Selkups, Khanty, Sami and Veps. The portraits of each of the peoples are accompanied by infographics with keywords in their native language.
The idea for the exhibition was conceived by the Norilsk Museum. According to Natalia Fedyanina, the director of Norilsk Museum, the best thing about the project is that it tells about the culture and life of several Arctic peoples.
A separate series of photos is dedicated to the expeditions and the team behind the Children of the Arctic portal, as well as the backstage of the shooting process. The portal itself can be browsed on a large interactive screen mounted in the centre of the exposition. It contains even more interesting information about northern languages, as well as other facts.
"We often think of the Arctic as nothing more than a source of raw materials. But it also has plenty of history and culture to offer. Children of the Arctic started out as a multilingual portal. We recorded text, video and audio materials about the languages of indigenous peoples, their tales and legends, and also made educational videos. The project was growing, and it was time to go beyond languages and digitise the region's intangible cultural heritage. This is how the videos about the everyday life and traditions of indigenous peoples came to be. We're making this project not only for the Arctic, but for the whole country," says Rustam Romanenkov, deputy general director and official secretary of the Centre for Arctic Initiatives.
The exhibition is part of a major effort undertaken by the Norilsk Museum in preparation for the Night of Museums and Polar Explorer Day. Its main exhibit is the House of the Polar Explorer, which features a recreated interior of an Arctic research station. It was delivered from Arkhangelsk on an icebreaker along the North Sea Route. It is possible that after Norilsk, the exhibition Children of the Arctic. Scenery of the North will also set out on a journey across the Arctic seas.
"We initially intended for it to be able to tour other Arctic museums. We would be very happy if the exhibition continued to travel around the Arctic, so that as many people as possible could see it," says Artur Agafonov, travel organiser and deputy general director of the PressPass agency. Artur Agafonov.