#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Among the Nganasans, this bird is considered the shaman’s assistant: its beak helps to break through the ice thickness between the lower and upper worlds so that the shaman can return to the upper world after communicating with the spirits of the lower world. This small waterfowl served as the theme of the graduate work of Gennady Sotnikov, a graduate of the Norilsk College of Arts.
It is not by chance that Gennady called his work The Birth of the Taimyr Land.
“A legend about the bird listed in the Red Book under the name white-billed loon helped me to uncover the artistic image of the theme”, says Gennady.
Gennady presented in the description of his work this fabulous story, known by many residents of Taimyr.
“It was a long time ago, when there was no earth in the world, just water. Special people – shamans – came to the God of the Earth – Syruta-Ngu. And they asked for a place with land where they could shamanise. The God of the Earth and his assistants decided: “Let the loon dive and get the land”. It took three days, maybe a year. How was it possible to know if the Sun and the Moon had nowhere to descend, and they were in the sky all the time? Finally, the loon emerged, with a piece of dry land in its beak.
Syruta-Ngu made it round, put the dry ball in the water and said: “Let a new land be created here and called Taimyr – means generous”.
The land grew and became as big as it is now. And the spirits gave her everything that could be found amazing in the world – the vast expanses, countless hills and mountains, filled the air with the aromas of flowers and the rustle of herbs, the sounds of a jew’s-harp and a tambourine. The Taimyr tundra was filled with herds of wild reindeer and many other animals. These treasures have amazing power! Since ancient times, they have been attracting the brave northerners. But, only to those who have pure thoughts, ardent love and respect for people, these riches are revealed. The ancient land of Taimyr – the mother of all that exists – gives real people that joy, vigor and strength that can hardly be found in other places”.
Gennady Sotnikov carved the grotesque figure of a loon from a deer antler, setting himself the task of conveying the graphic plasticity of the body and wings movement, the color and texture of the bird’s plumage. To do this kind of work is not easy, he admits. It is necessary to think over the idea, and for this it will take more than one month to study the various material of the folk art of the small peoples of the North. Then draw sketches… Think about the technique.
“I used mosaics and overlaid reindeer antler plates to create the loon”, he explains.
The born Taimyr land – soft in shape and warm in material – looks quite contrasting with the figure of a huge bird. For this, Gennady used a pine tree. The technique is volumetric and relief carving.
“It is more accurate to emphasize the artistic image of the Taimyr land, which taught its children a special life in the tundra, gave them the secrets of survival, filled with tireless work and struggle with dangers, the desire to depict the northern expanses and inhabitants of the tundra that were dear to my heart helped me. The human figures are made of mammoth tusk in small plastic – to highlight the loon that created the Taimyr land”, he explains.