Mystical picture
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Mystical picture

January 18, 2021

There are works in world painting with which mysterious stories and riddles are associated. The Russian Arctic is no exception.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In Siberian city of Dudinka, in the Taimyr House of Folk Art, there is a painting that many people consider mystical. It has a special magnetism, attracts attention and even won fame as a miracle worker far beyond the peninsula. This is a leather picture of Shaman. Its author is the famous Dolgan artist Boris Molchanov.

He worked in different techniques: watercolors, pastels on crumpled paper, gouache, linocut, but ultimately found himself when turned to the origins of the northern people. It happened at an archaeological site in Hakassia. A shaman tambourine, covered with leather, found in the ground, suggested him the idea of ​​using nyukes – covering for the northern chum made of reindeer skins – as a canvas. The material is ambiguous. Today’s masters do not risk working with it – nyukes are too energetically saturated: the deer skin, smoked by the hearth’s smoke, a silent witness to the life and fate of families where people were born, argued, made peace, died… But Boris Molchanov was not scared and created a unique genre.

Nyuke, in his opinion, required minimal intervention: somewhere to scratch a little, hem or remove unnecessary thing, and as a result, a canvas of amazing power and depth was born. A striking example of this is the Shaman image.

Employees of the Taimyr House of Folk Art note: surprising facts and unexplained events have often happened to this picture. They consider the human beeing captured in the skin to be alive: his expression is constantly changing. Now he is gloomy and frowning, then serenely calm, then smiling.

“Our visitors often stay at this particular work, confiding their secrets to the Shaman, making requests and leaving gifts”, says Lyubov Popova, director of the Taimyr House of Folk Art. “The energy of this picture is very strong! In my memory, there are many amazing cases when the Shaman helped a person in a difficult situation”.

She recalls a story that had happened in March 2004. Dmitry Haratyan, a popular Russian film actor, came to Dudinka for a tour that coincided with the country’s presidential elections. The guest, as usual, was shown all the local sights, and in the evening he was invited to taste northern cuisine. Everything would be fine, but… In the morning, Haratyan had a flight to Moscow, and the snowstorm blew out in earnest at the end of the day. Someone even said that the Norilsk airport would probably be closed in the next week. This is common for the North. The actor’s mood deteriorated sharply after those words – in Moscow he had important events, filming, contracts. He couldn’t stay here!

What was to be done?

As the hostess of Taimyr main chum, Lyubov Popova suggested that the guest ask from the Shaman for help. Haratyan did not resist and even took a glass of alcohol with him as an offering.

What the actor talked with the Shaman picture about – no one still knows. However, the next day something strange happened – the storm that had raged all night abated for a short time. The sky cleared. The only plane that flew from Norilsk that day was the one with Dmitry Haratyan. And it looked like a miracle. Because all other flights were postponed for a week because of the storm that was raging again.

 (To be continued.)

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

January 18, 2021

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