#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The image of this particular beast in the beautiful Evenk legend became the defining one for Olga Gamaliy, a graduate of the Norilsk College of Arts when she was creating the set of clothes.
It is no coincidence that the slender and dexterous Evenks were called the most inventive of all the peoples of the North in decorating themselves. Their clothes were made of reindeer skins, were light, had the form of a camisole with diverging hemlines, lined with a dyed deer fur fringe and colored beads. The fur hat was also richly decorated, and the shoes, sewn from deer skin with wool up, were a matter of special pride. The women wore the same clothes, adding a luxurious ribbon wrapped around a braid, into which silver buttons and other shiny jewelry were woven.
“While creating the women’s clothing set, I used elements of the traditional Evenk costume in order to reveal the meaning of the artistic image more accurately and vividly”, says Olga Gamaliy. “My work is called Dyal Sekalan, which is translation from Evenk as Wise Lynx. It is based on the legend of the northern people”.
“At the end of winter, the lynxes drive away last year’s nine-month-old kittens, and the teenagers are left alone, without a mother. Thus, one day a little lynx was expelled by her mother in the wild forest”, Olga Gamaliy begins her story.
The kitty was smart, dexterous in getting food. One day she wandered through the forest and went to a human habitation. Strong curiosity detained the little animal not far from the Evenk settlement. She did not know how to live with people. But lynxes are magical animals. She turned into a young girl and went out to the people. One family gave shelter to the savage. During the winter she got used to her new life, began to smile, talk, and quickly learned housework. Soon she loved a young man, got married, gave birth to children. Everything was fine in this family until the kids grew up.
One day her older daughter and son went into the forest and did not return. The father grieved for a long time about the loss of his children, and an old local witch told him: “Your wife came from the forest – she turned from a lynx into a beauty. No wonder her children went to the forest: they feel better there”.
The husband got angry but the wise woman replied: “I fell in love with you and wanted to live with people. If you like, I will leave, if not I’ll stay and our youngest son will become a hunter at this place”. The peasant listened to her with all his heart and did not drive her away. So the wise lynx lived as a woman till the end of her life.
“I decided to create a symbolic outfit – a set of clothes for an Evenk girl in the form of a lynx”, explains Olga Gamaliy. “It includes a parka with a belt, a hat, shoes. Materials in my work were natural suede, lynx fur, beads”.
The girl adorned a cropped loose park made of brown suede with a bib made of light beige suede. The bib is decorated with an ornament made using the applique technique. She beautified the contour with white beads.
“The central, cruciform element of the ornament means the search for oneself, the choice for the lynx girl”, Olga explains her idea. “The upper half of the ornament is nature, forest, and the lower part is enlarged and shows the village with people, where the wise lynx went. On the back of the parka there is an ornament made on the short lynx’s tail”.
On a headdress made in the form of an animal’s head, you can see keen eyes and sensitive ears. The suede shoe has an elongated pointed ornament that symbolizes the speed and agility of a wild cat.
“I was very inspired by this Evenk legend about the wise beast”, says Olga Gamaliy. “Her stamina, hunting habits and instincts helped transform the lynx into a loving and kind girl”.
Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Norilsk college of arts