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SPIEF to Feature Photo Exhibit about Life of Northern Indigenous People

11 June 2022
Выставка фотографий о жизни коренных народов Севера откроется в рамках ПМЭФ

The cultural programme of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will include a photo exhibit of works by photographer Oleg Zotov about the history, culture, and modern image of the Indigenous People of the North. The Heart of Yugra exhibit will be on display as part of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 20212023 and was initiated by the Roscongress Foundation in collaboration with photographers as well as cultural and art figures.

“The Russian Federation is chairing the Arctic Council in 20212023, and this is the best time to present the beauty of Russia’s northern regions in an iconic cultural environment – at the Russian Museum of Ethnography. It is one of the world’s largest collections of the traditional cultures of the people of the North and Siberia. The project will introduce visitors to the historical, cultural, and natural potential of one of Russia’s Arctic regions – the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra,” said Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the Russian President and Executive Secretary of the SPIEF Organizing Committee.

The goal of the project is to present the distinctive image of the northern territories in a new way and to introduce museum visitors to the history and culture of the peoples that inhabit them. The exhibit consists of 40 photographs: portraits, pictures of everyday life and landscape as well as visually interpreted images and symbols of Yugra. The photographs, among other things, capture the Subpolar Urals, Mount Ner-Oika, the Irtysh and Ob Rivers, taiga, waterfalls and lakes, as well as members of the Indigenous Peoples of the North – the Khanty and Mansi.

“Yugra is actively working within the agenda of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We have established a special Arctic nomination at the Spirit of Fire International Film Debut Festival, held the World Congress of Reindeer Breeders in Khanty-Mansiysk, and are working on interregional projects at the Northern Forum site. Our culturological project ‘Artistic Discovery of the People of the North’ tells the story of the genetic code of the northern peoples through creative industries and ensures their sustainable development. It is crucial for us to share these centuries-old recipes with everyone. As we address the issue of preserving and promoting the cultural and historical heritage of Yugra, we are not afraid to experiment, take an interdisciplinary approach, collaborateand discover something new,” Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra Governor Natalya Komarova said.

The Heart of Yugra is a pilot stage of the ‘Artistic Discovery of the Peoples of the North’ project, which will be presented on 15 June at the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg. The exhibit will be open until 15 August 2022. All the photos presented at the exhibit being shown for the first time. The Heart of Yugra is part of the official St. Petersburg Seasons Cultural Festival.

“The Russian Museum of Ethnography is home to one of the world’s largest collections about the culture of the Indigenous Peopleof the North and Siberia, which belongs to the golden fund of world ethnology. Thanks to new projects, we are constantly learning to discover other ethnic groups and get acquainted with their history and culture, which means better understanding ourselves and interacting in the modern world. Oleg Zotov’s photos are able to capture a visitors gaze and draw his/her attention to the details in order to get a sense of the world of Yugra. The images offer a fresh look at the monuments of the traditional culture of the indigenous inhabitants of Yugra  the Khanty and Mansi. Thus, they enable each of us to make our own discoveries as we peer into the faces of people and the nature of Yugra,” Russian Museum of Ethnography Director Yulia Kupina said

One of the main priorities of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023 is to develop human capital in the region, including the Indigenous People of the North. Russia pays special attention to maintaining the stability and viability of the people of the North, promoting measures to adapt them to climate change, improving the well-being, health, education, and quality of life of people, and ensuring sustainable socioeconomic development throughout the region. Russia has initiated projects to digitalize the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Indigenous People of the North, develop renewable energy sources, create an international Arctic carbon-free energy research station, and ensure biosecurity in the Arctic. In addition, Russia is preparing draft proposals on the traditional medicine of Indigenous People and the development of creative industries in the Arctic, and is working on an initiative to create Digital Museums of the Arctic






Reference information:

Official social media accounts of Russia’s chairmanship in the Arctic Council:




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