Exhibition and session at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers

May 20, 2024 | News

  • Date: April 20, 2024
  • Place: Honolulu, Hawaii

The Frozen Commons team members Vera Kuklina, Tatiana Degai, and Stanislav Saas Ksenofontov collaborated with AIVAN, Meskwaki Elder Mary Young Bear and Meskwaki  artistSarah Young Bear-Brown, and with Buryat curator Timur Zolotoev to discuss the importance of being attuned to the earth and supporting communities entangled in transforming environments during the sessions at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers. A particular focus was on exploring relationships across different archipelagos of Indigenous knowledges and epistemologies where values, beliefs, traditions, and ingenuity are intertwined in a unique way. Indigenous artists, curators, and scholars worked together to create the exhibition Indigenous Archipelagos: Recovering all our Relations (curators: Tatiana Degai, Vera Kuklina, Timur Zolotoev).

The centerpiece of the exhibition was Quilt Ojar — Circles on the Water. It is a collaborative creation of the Arctic Indigenous Virtual Artists Network (AIVAN) and the Arctic, Remote and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center (ARCTICenter). When the rock drops into the water, it creates water circles. This is what the Kildin Sámi word ojar means.  As the circles on the water diverge from the rock, the islets of Indigenous knowledges come together in this quilt to tell the stories of the artists and their homelands. Quilt Ojar starts with the centerpiece that represents a Sámi hearth surrounded by the stories from Meskwaki, Eveni, Evenki, Yukagir, Itelmen, Koryak, Selkup, Khanty, and Nivkhi Peoples. It was born out of AIVAN virtual gatherings during the COVID lockdown and represents islets from different parts of Northern Russia and the prairies of Turtle Island. Each islet embodies its own knowledge system or a collaboration of different systems and talks about the diversity of human and non-human relationships.  

Stanislav Saas Ksenofontov presented the video IndigUrban: Indigenizing Urban Spaces in the Arctic, which was co-created with Diana Khudaeva and Sardaana Barabanova. The video was first shown at the exhibition Arctic StoryWorlds: Weaving Different Ways of Knowing through Arts, Science, Local, and Indigenous Knowledge during the NNA Annual Meeting on March 5-7, 2024.

Also, curator Timur Zolotoev showcased the digital video work Lusuud created by Buryat artist Ariuna Bulutova, which premiered at COP28 of the UNCCC as part of the event “Western Academia and Nomadic Culture Collaboration to Address Climate Change” on December 2, 2023, and spoke about how contemporary artists from Buryatia and Mongolia engage with their native landscapes and Indigenous knowledges.

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