Visual Ethnography Competition 2020 Graphic Art Winner: The Light of Other Worlds by Ilya Abramov

Title:

The Light of Other Worlds

Artist:

Ilya Abramov

Description:

2010-2020, Mansi, Indigenous people, West Siberia, Russian Federation.
This series is an attempt to reflect the implicit side of the culture of the Mansi, the indigenous people of the forests and swamps of Western Siberia.

Artist’s Note:

This series is an attempt to reflect the implicit side of the culture of the Mansi, the indigenous people of the forests and swamps of Western Siberia. During my fieldwork, I often faced a situation when the mythological world had a strong influence on the Mansi, determining the course of events, or, on the contrary, inaction. I regretted that I could not see the world through the eyes of the others, and that the cultural barrier was insurmountable. The entrance was only from inside the culture. The guest got oral histories and folklore interpretations, not experiences.

I heard incredible stories of contact with forest creatures unknown to science. No one wanted to surprise or persuade me on purpose, it was just the Mansi cosmos in which people are constantly exposed to different elements and creatures. The Mansi saw special signs in the events, somebody foresaw my arrival being not much surprised by a lonely traveler. However, there are more people who were brought up in an urban environment, within the framework of a Christian or secular ethos. There is no place for the bear-ancestor and patron spirits in an urbanized global world, and the more valuable the flickering light of other worlds. In this series, I tried to show this light and to interpret some visual scenes in terms of mythological consciousness as I see it.

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