Look at that little black and white photo. Three generations in one picture: three generations who will have experienced vastly different lives. This photograph was taken in the 1980s in the Siberian town of Nelemnoye, home to the Yukaghir people. The old grandmother in the photograph has probably lived her whole life in this remote part of Siberia: through two world wars, a revolution that overthrew the Tsarist autocracy, and the rise of Soviet communism. The young woman and the child have only known this last reality, but just a few years after this photograph was taken, the world yet again turned upside down with the fall of the Soviet Union.
Old Afanasig, in the picture to the left, is one of the oldest inhabitants of Nelemnoye. He too has lived through many of these changes. He was photographed in 2017 by visual anthropologist Christian Vium, who travelled to Siberia, Australia, and The Amazon as part of a research project, which culminates in the exhibition Dialogues at Moesgaard Museum. In Nelemnoye, Vium delved into peoples’ private photo collections, which formed the basis of many discussions with the people he met. Vium writes:
“These photographs became a central pivot in my attempt to understand how time has impacted on the inhabitants’ lives, memories and relationships, within and beyond the confines of their remote settlements, including wider political and economic transformations sweeping across the Russian territory”.
Dialogues opens at Moesgaard Museum on the 3rd of February. In the exhibition, you too will be invited to take part in the discussions, and to reflect on the past and the present, on how we humans meet, engage in dialogues, and represent each other across time and space.
Dialogues opens at Moesgaard Museum on the 3rd of February, and will run till the 27th of May 2018.
Left: Old Afanasig. Nelemnoye, Yakutia, Russia. 2017. Christian Vium.
Right: Grandmother, Mother and Son. Vernacular archive, from the private collection of Irina Alexeivna Ditckova. Nelemnoye, Yakutia, Russia.