Evgenia Arbugaeva – Stories from the Russian Arctic
Residency period: June – August 2019
National Maritime Museum, London
Originating from Tiksi in Russia, Evgenia frequently travels back to her homeland in the Arctic to capture the varied worlds, cultures, traditions and people who inhabit it. For this residency, Evgenia will work specifically in the Museum’s new Polar World gallery; collect inspiration from Russia specialists including scientists; and will explore cultural artefacts held in the Museum’s archive. She will delve into stories, viewpoints and beliefs from and of the region.
Evgenia will share some of these stories and those collected on her trips at the museum, celebrating the Polar regions and the communities who live there, while raising awareness around the fragility of existence of indigenous people’s lives and cultures due to the impacts of climate change.
The Arctic is increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change, with global warming causing glaciers and sea ice to melt at an unprecedented rate. This impacts negatively on the existence of people and animals in the region, but is also contributing to a substantial rise in sea levels, desalination and changes in ocean currents – the effects of which are beginning to be felt around the world.
The Arctic is a unique and complex part of the Earth’s ecosystem and its health is critical to sustaining all life. Despite geographical, sometimes political and social separation, we are all linked and in order to protect this remarkable and essential place awareness needs to be raised to highlight our intrinsic connection.
Evgenia Arbugaeva has won various competitions, including the ICP Infinity Award, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award and the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant. Her work has been exhibited internationally and appeared in publications such as National Geographic, mare, Le Monde, and The New Yorker magazines, among others. Her work portrays personal stories and photoessays in magical realist compositions that are seeped in fairytale and fable.
Image: From the series ‘Tiksi’ © Evgenia Arbugaeva 2012.