Spirit of Fire Film Festival to Feature Multimedia Exhibition of ‘Soul of Russia. The North’ Project

The multimedia exhibition ‘Artists Inspired by the Arctic. Artists Born by the North’, which is part of the ‘Soul of Russia. The North’ audio-visual project, will be held at the Spirit of Fire Film Festival in Khanty-Mansiysk on 3–6 March. The ‘Soul of Russia. The North’ project is dedicated to Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. The Roscongress Foundation manages the events of the chairmanship.

“This exhibition has both artistic and local significance. Fine art most clearly reflects the distinguishing ethnic features of the peoples of the North as well as their attitude and worldview. The ‘Soul of Russia. The North’ project has proven itself as an effective tool that supports the goal of preserving the historical heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic. It’s crucial that the Spirit of Fire Festival provides an opportunity to connect with the unique cultural traditions as well as the morals and manners of small-numbered peoples,” said Nikolay Korchunov, chair of the Senior Arctic Officials and ambassador-at-large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The exhibition’s guests will have an opportunity to learn about the works of prominent artists who founded the Arctic School of Painting – Alexander Borisov, Konstantin Pankov, and Tyko Vylki, and also trace the influence of the cultural and historical legacy of the Indigenous peoples of the North on the works of Vasily Kandinsky, Gennady Rayshev, and Galina Vizel. The exhibition will be organized using multimedia technologies and a special sound design.

“Our job is to preserve for future descendants the unique culture and centuries-old traditions that form the basis of a life that, unfortunately, you don’t see much today. So it’s great that there are such exhibitions, and I truly hope that they will continue thanks to the ‘Soul of Russia. The North’ project,” said Grigory Ledkov, a member of the Federation Council’s Committee on the Federal Structure, Regional Policies, Local Self-Governance, and Affairs of the North and president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North.

“The canvases that the visitors to the exhibition will see show the diversity of the ethnic life of the northern nationalities, the specific features of their life, and their traditions. They contain the cultural code of Indigenous peoples, such as reindeer herders, hunters, and fishermen. With the development of modern technologies, there is a growing risk that the traditional way of life that is so familiar to them will disappear. So it’s extremely important for artists to capture and convey to us their own sense of this unique ethnic and original culture,” said Yelena Marinina, a member of the Spirit of Fire Festival Organizing Committee.

In addition, as part of the first business programme that is being organized at the Spirit of Fire Festival, there will be a laboratory called ‘Space and Its Heroes through Documentary Cinema’ that will create films. Director Yevgeny Grigoryev, who is also the artistic director of the Sverdlovsk Film Studio, will hold a three-day master class on the development of films about Indigenous peoples. The master class will include practical techniques for developing film projects, watching films, discussions, and the independent work of the class participants.

The Spirit of Fire Festival will be held at the Yugra-Classic Concert and Theatre Centre. The cultural programme of the Spirit of Fire Festival was prepared with the support of Gazprom Neft, the general partner of the festival. The Roscongress Foundation is the festival’s communication partner.

Russia is the chair of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. One of Russia’s main priorities is to develop human capital in the region, including the Indigenous peoples of the North. Russia devotes special attention to maintaining the sustainability and viability of the peoples of the North, promoting measures to adapt them to climate change, improving people’s well-being, health, education, and quality of life, and ensuring sustainable socioeconomic development throughout the region. The Russian side has initiated projects to digitalize the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Indigenous peoples of the North, develop renewable energy sources, create an international Arctic research station that runs on carbon-free energy, and ensure biosecurity in the Arctic. In addition, Russia is preparing draft proposals on the traditional medicine of Indigenous peoples and the development of creative industries in the Arctic, and is working on an initiative to create Digital Museums of the Arctic.