Feminism, shamanism, and tattoos: four artists from Yakutia you need to know

"Snob" wrote about the Yakut cinema when one after another films from this region began to receive awards at prestigious film festivals. Then about local politics, when the ex-mayor of Yakutsk and now State Duma deputy Sardana Avksentieva has changed the face of politics to a female one. The Far Eastern Republic does not stop and this time it enters the territory of contemporary art.

The first associations that we have when we hear the phrase "Yakut art" are traditional outfits made of deer skins and shaman tambourines. It is difficult to get rid of stereotypes and images of national color, but today it is simply necessary. Huge in the territory, remote from everywhere at once, this region, despite its apparent periphery, surprisingly sets trends.

This fall, the AyarKut Contemporary Art Support Foundation appeared in Yakutia, created with the money of IT businessman Arsen Tomsky, the founder of the international company inDriver with a capitalization of over a billion dollars, he is also behind the support of local cinema, in particular, the film "Scarecrow." The Foundation has already financed the Yakut stand at the Moscow Blazar Young Art Fair in September. Recently it has announced the launch of art residencies.

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

"We are part of Arsen Tomsky's big charity project "Sinet Spark", this foundation studies forest fires and helps with their extinguishing, fights mosquitoes, supports Yakut cinema, and now we have a new direction of contemporary art," Irina Bugaeva, the fund manager, told Snob. “What is the main motive: Arsen Tomsky has the idea of moving away from raw materials and transferring the economy to a human resource because it is inexhaustible. And we want our artists to become recognizable all over the world. They expect folk motifs and national color from us, but we want to be broader and put Yakut art in an international context."

A fragment of the picture

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

One of the important modern contexts is women's art and feminist discourse. "Snob" talked to four of the most interesting modern Yakut artists about life between Berlin and the taiga, the combination of national patterns on canvases and tattoos all over the body, ecology, and women's agenda.

Selena Shestakova, 28 years old

Selena Shestakova

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

"I work with memory, images from the past. I spent my entire childhood in a remote Yakut village: nature, forest, wild animals — all this is very close and understandable to me. And it was imprinted in my memory with pictures that remain in me forever. That's probably why the colors of my paintings are invariably bright because our summer is short and I want to capture it at its maximum brightness. I still live in Verkhoyansk - you've probably heard about the cold pole, minus 60 degrees in winter is kind of the norm for us, the answer to which is a splash of colors opposite to frost and whiteness around."

Yen Sur, 32 years old

Yen Sur

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

"Women's art is already a stereotype. But I need to talk about the problems that pass through me. Now, these are issues of ecology and motherhood. The first is cash receipts. Tons of meaningless paper. And I work with them creatively, drawing attention to deforestation for the sake of what is instantly sent to the trash can. The second is my physicality, the feminine principle. Maybe at first glance, the two themes are not so close, but, on the other hand, they are images of nature as a mother and the future that we must take care of."

Anya Enot, 32 years old

Anya Enot

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

"It so happened that Berlin and the Yakut taiga are combined in me. I studied at an art school in Germany, I am interested in being in a European artistic context, but the national in me has not gone away. With the harsh noise music that I play and write, with tattoos all over my body, images of taiga and spirits are bizarrely combined. There are no chorons and Yakut ornaments in my paintings, I don't stick it out, but I keep the Yakut inside me. And the most important thing in this sense is the taiga, which I always miss and where I am drawn to all the time, that boundless ocean where you get and just dissolve in it."

Nadezhda Komissarova, 34 years old

Nadezhda Komissarova

Photo: Vladimir Yarotsky

"I think I am the only artist in our company who works directly with folk motifs. It is important for me to transfer our traditional culture into the space of contemporary art, to combine contemporary forms and national artistic traditions. Little is known about the art of Yakutia today - probably it's the remoteness of Sakha, inaccessibility. And that is why it is significant that we come to Moscow and Europe with exhibitions, and that more and more events are taking place in Yakutia: from biennales to residencies, thanks to which more people will learn about us — both ordinary audience and representatives of the professional community."

Prepared by Renat Davletgildeev