Mystical picture. Part two

Mystical picture. Part two

January 29, 2021

Leather paintings of the northern artist Boris Molchanov were acquired by various collectors, including foreign ones, during his lifetime.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Some of the works are kept in galleries in France, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Estonia and other countries. However, despite the unique technology of creation, none of them gained fame as mystical as the picture called Shaman.

The age of gadgets and technology has almost completely killed the faith of city dwellers in the power of shamans. However, in the North, in remote villages, no one denies the presence of a certain power, given by nature and the spirits to these servants of ancient cults, who may ask to send rain, warmth or frost to the earth. It all depends on people’s needs.

The Main chum’s employees are sure: the Shaman in the leather picture is a living being

Director of the Taimyr House of Folk Art Lyubov Popova recalls a typical case associated with this creation of the Dolgan artist.

One summer, the staff of the institution decided to organize an art expedition and go to the Yenisey river’s bank. The days were unusually hot. They were waiting for the trip, preparing for it. However, on that day the weather suddenly deteriorated: the sky became overcast and it began to rain.

“We went to ask a shaman… – continues Lyubov Popova. “We went to the Yenisey when it was still drizzling. And suddenly we saw a strange picture in the sky: a cloud with rain crawled away, the sun appeared. We reached the place – the grass was already dry there. We worked very fruitfully that day! And when we were on the way back, we saw: the cloud was coming in our direction and it started to rain again. Wind, slush, cold…”

The Main chum of Taimyr’s employees are sure: the shaman in the picture has a reaction to everything that happens, his mood changes. Moreover, they say that the spirit with a tambourine even walks through the building. Many have seen the Shaman in the guise of a living person more than once. And his ability to help people today has earned him fame, which spread far beyond Taimyr.

“Several years ago we took Boris Molchanov’s paintings to the Krasnoyarsk Museum Center to exhibit”, says Lyubov Popova. “When we took them out from the walls, to our great surprise, we saw money, sweets, pieces of dried apples – offerings to the Shaman.

It turned out that visitors were purposefully coming to someone who, as they were sure, would help fulfill their desires. And in Krasnoyarsk, after the end of the exhibition, we found sweets in the ribbons that decorate the picture. At the Taimyr House of Folk Art, we put a special dish for offerings next to the Shaman”.

It was noticed that the shaman does not like other artists’ exhibitions very much. In 2018, exclusive copies of Roerich’s works were exhibited in Dudinka. It was decided to place the exposition in the Taimyr House of Folk Art, covering local paintings for better perception. And when the next day the director of the House entered the exhibition hall, she saw the Shaman standing on the easel. His face expressed extreme irritation.

“I asked the employees what happened,” continues Lyubov Popova. “They said: the day before, when they had been attaching copies of Roerich’s works to the walls, Shaman had fallen to the floor with a crash. He looked quite menacing at that moment. The exhibition is clearly not to his liking”.

All this, when it comes to the original work of the Dolgan artist, is told to the guests in the Taimyr House of Folk Art. The delegation of scientists who came to Dudinka from St. Petersburg was no exception. Hearing the story, a woman came out of the group:

“Everything you tell about the shaman in the leather picture is true”. The Main chum’s employees were surprised. “I’m a psychic”, the guest explained. “I feel a very powerful energy from this picture”.

In the Taimyr House of Folk Art, no one doubts that the picture is alive. Perhaps the chosen material played a role – Molchanov created his works on the worn out, smoky summer coverings of the chums that had migrated across the tundra, and used decorative stitching, wood, clay and even the internal organs and bones of a reindeer as expressive means. Or maybe it’s all about the choice of the main character.

Read the beginning of the Shaman’s story in the Truths and myths section.

Text: Elena Popova, Photo:, Taimyr House of Folk Art

January 29, 2021

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