Arctic Challenges and Adaptation
Atlas Obscura Arctic
We are searching for fresh forms of cooperation between arts, science and indigenous knowledge, to prepare the ground for the germination of new artistically co-created understandings of Arctic sustainability.

Curator Alexandra Orlova and sociologist Maria Tysiachniouk worked with several artists during the expeditions to the North. They continue networking by inviting new artists to our online project. Not every project is from the Arctic region, there are precious artists who supported our interest on Indigenous issues.

You can find all projects at Google Earth presentation or below:
Ekaterina Smirnova

wood, threaded rod, plastic, paper
0,5х0,7х0,6 м
ICE. IN A TRAP 2019 Installation. Wood, threaded rod, plastic, paper 0,5х0,7х0,6 м
Photo by Tatiana Gulyaeva 2020

There is a trend towards winter warming. Is it good? It seems that there are obvious advantages, but a lot of problems also appear, first of all, for those who are closely connected with nature in their everyday life. The infrastructure of the North is designed for ice crossings and winter roads. And with warming, the quality and time of using these routes decreases, breaking the connection between remote settlements and the rest of the world, and this also affects those who are engaged in traditional nature management. In particular, on reindeer and reindeer herders, on their way of life. Layered ice can become an obstacle to food for deer, and the delayed formation of ice can impede the movement of herds from north to south in winter, leading to hunger and even death.
Caitlin Cerimele
digital illustration
9 x 9 inches
A Vicious Cycle is inspired by a cause and effect of global warming and the recycle symbol. It was created with the intent to show that one action leads to another which leads to another which leads back to the first action. Without stopping one of these actions causes an endless cycle of chaos and destruction. There are three depictions shown in the cycle to be seen going counterclockwise. Each depiction is in the shape of a polar bear head with its mouth wide open as if it is about to eat into the next depiction. The reason I chose the polar bear is an Alaskan influence and because ozone depletion is most common in the polar regions. The depiction on the upper left is of a wildfire which is a consequence of global warming. The bottom depiction is of a field of chopped trees and a paper mill that is polluting water and the air which is an effect brought on by the wildfire. The upper right depiction is of the sun melting Earth due to the sun’s radiation and to an opening in the ozone layer because the paper mill pollution can contribute to ozone depletion. This causes global warming which in turn helps to cause wildfires, and so the cycle continues.

Go to Eyes To See, Ears To Listen RISE RESILIENCE online exhibition.

The UAA/APU Books of the Year program is happy to collaborate with the Art A491 Senior Seminar art students on the virtual exhibition titled “Eyes to See, Ears to Listen: Rise Resilience”. The exhibition draws attention to the all-important issues of climate change, social issues, inequality issues, etc. The students’ works are created to address and teach about these issues. With these works it reflects how even learners can actively participate in the ongoing discussion of social issues through artistic expression.
Kunu, Talilo, Toni Hill, Mic Crenshaw and Quincy Davis

Featuring Kunu, Talilo, Toni Hill, Mic Crenshaw and Quincy Davis -- the stories of 4 artists representing 4 ancestral lineages, addressing the unification of our struggles, facing the past to build a better future, and serving future generations. We are stronger when the hoop is whole.

From the album Rebel Wise, on all platforms:
Apple Music:

Artist links:
Toni Hill:
Mic Crenshaw:
Quincy Davis:

Music Producer & Director: Quincy Davis
Cinematographer: Simon Baum / Octavus Media Group
Production assistants: Wassla and Orlando
Special thanks to Emily's Georges Gottfried Fund of OJCF
Produced by 7Vision:
Romanova Ekaterina, Ignatieva Vanda, video by Alexey Romanov
Yakutsk, Russia

The Yakuts managed to preserve the system-forming core of the nomadic culture - horse breeding and develop their own innovative strategy of northern nomadism.

Openness and constant movement in space created the existential code of the horsemen of North Asia.

In the Yakut culture, a person was literally identical with the space of his native land, correlated with the concept of alaas as a “domesticated” developed space.

The image of alaas in the traditional worldview of the Yakuts is its spiritual core and a key symbol, a synthesis of nature and culture as the House of the Sakha people.

The circular ritual dance Ohuokhai, performed in Summer celebration Yhyakh, meant the circle of life, symbolizing the path of man (ayaan) and the path of the heavenly deities horizontally and vertically (circular path). The intersection of the paths-connections of Man, Nature and Deities “consolidated” the newly created world, organizing a multidimensional social space.
The culture of life support of the most northern Turks, formed in the environment of the early nomads of Southern Siberia and Central Asia, manifests continuous metanarrative as an extended memory of southern ancestors modern Yakuts.
The traditional Sakha worldview was correlated with the image nomadic culture, with the archetype of spatial memory of the south. The conjugation of the real and sacred landscape of the Yakut culture led to creation of a new transcription of the "Arctic" text.


Romanova Ekaterina Nazarovna - Doctor of Historical Sciences, Leading Researcher, Institute of Humanitarian Research and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North, YSC SB RAS; Mr. Researcher International Research Laboratory of Linguistic Ecology of the Arctic, North-Eastern Federal University named after M.K. Ammosova (Yakutsk)

Ignatieva Vanda Borisovna - Candidate of Historical Sciences, Leading Researcher, Institute for Humanitarian Research and Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the North, YSC SB RAS; senior researcher International Research Laboratory of Linguistic Ecology of the Arctic, North-Eastern Federal University named after M.K. Ammosova (Yakutsk)

* The research was supported by the Russian Federation Government grant No. 2020-220-08-6030 "Preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity and sustainable development of the Arctic and Subarctic of the Russian Federation"

An article about Alexey Romanov's first full-length Yakut film "The Middle World" on the AYARKUT page.

Anna Hoover
Salmon Reflection
Bristol Bay, Alaska

Norwegian/Unangax filmmaker, Anna Hoover lives in Alaska, and has spent her summers in salmon territory on the waters of Bristol Bay.
Hoover’s 4-minute film, Salmon Reflection, includes carefully curated voices and visuals, gathered with the goal of communicating the sacred reverence she and her culture hold for salmon.
Salmon are the lifeblood of the communities they feed and support. Salmon Reflection provides a portal into an indigenous worldview of what salmon need.
Be carried by Aassanaaq Kairairuak’s Yup’ik song Seal Boy, and find your place in solidarity as a steward for future healthy generations of salmon and people.
Chin’an – Gunalchéesh – Mahsi’choo – Quyana – Qagaasakung – Thank you

Anna Hoover’s page
Dmitry Makhov
Komi Republic Alternative Map
Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russia

assemblage, paper, coal, oil
Photos. Revolt Center, Kirill Shuchalin.
When we read that there was an oil spill or explosion in a coal mine, it is difficult for us to imagine the volume, scale, and sometimes even the location of the accident. The map will allow you to look at what cost to extract fossils and what consequences are inflicted on the North. The work was done using oil and coal to show the realism of the environmental accidents in the Komi Republic.

The work was created in the EthnoEco residency in the Revolt center. Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, Russian Federation

About the residency ( in Russian)
Danita Pushkareva

Acrylic resin, wood, acrylic dyes
Photo by Tatiana Gulyaeva 2019
Video by Roman Vassiliev. Montage Stanislav Podusenko. 2021
This object in the form of a geological time slice crowned by a landscape model questions the possibility of a pristine landscape to exist in the Anthropocene age.

Our knowledge about the world is based on scientific research, which allows us not only to focus on the surface, but to understand what is underground.
Danita Pushkareva’s work is a connecting point between landscape and historical time.

If you draw the entire history of the Earth on a meter ruler, and then mark the history of mankind, then in comparison, mankind only takes up a strip of time smaller than 1 mm.

The visual material of the forests in the upper Soyan river, having inspired the artist, was collected during a scientific expedition in 2019, the purpose of which was to record the manifestations of climate change in this region.
Sociologist Antonina Kulyasova, a member of the expedition, said that her interactions with the very old trees turned her attention to thinking about history.

This is reminiscent of the principle of experiencing time through material objects, founded in the work of Danita Pushkareva.

Danita Pushkareva : We live at the very top of the Quaternary Strata, which was formed over the course of 2.5 million years. However, those fossils (crude oil and coal) that people use today on an ever-increasing scale are older deposits that lie deeper than the deposits of the Quaternary period.

Like geological forces, people are extracting fossils. As a result the territories that are not affected by human activity directly are still affected by global changes.

The distribution of oil, the vicious underside of things, became total. In the intact forest the artist is detecting only a semi-pristine landscape. It was the only option in the Anthropocene age.

Go to Climate and People (Climate Adaptation of Northern Communities).
Dokuchaev Central Soil Museum, Saint-Petersburg online exhibition ( in Russian)

More than 20 artists were invited to reflect on the climate change consequences and local community adaptation in North-West Russia.

Dr. Hermina Din & Astor Lai
Our Plastic Ocean, Our Clean Ocean

popup book
Along with the air we breathe, the ocean is the most necessary element required to sustain life on our planet.

Each day, scientists discover more of the many ways our vast and intricate ocean ecosystem affects global weather, natural resources, agriculture, commerce, politics and social interaction — even the health of our individual minds and bodies.

Scientists are also warning us about the enormous amount of plastic garbage polluting our oceans and how this pollution causes dangerous harm to all human and animal life. Only science can accurately show us how to reduce pollution from plastics and other pollutants and help make our oceans clean and healthy again.

Our Plastic Ocean, Our Clean Ocean explains to viewers not only How our ocean pollution problem came to be, but why we must find solutions as quickly as possible. Most importantly, it shows them what they can do right now to be part of those solutions.

The book format has two contrasting but complementary parts:

Part 1 - Our Plastic Ocean: What’s Wrong and How We Can Fix It
Part 2 - Our Clean Ocean: How We Can Keep It Clean for All of Us

The illustrations and pop-ups in Our Plastic Ocean make clear the connection between a polluting act and the widespread harm it causes; in Our Clean Ocean, the reader learns ways to reduce pollution and keep the ocean clean and healthy. In addition, the user’s guidebook takes the learner to the next level, providing examples of how to take actionable steps and create one’s own artwork for change.

Dr. Herminia Din is professor of art education at UAA. Her work focuses on plastic pollution in the Arctic using community art as an action for change. Grounded in educational theory and practice, she engages students in hands- on learning experiences to address themes of global significance. Since 2008, she has been promoting Junk to Funk—a community-based art series focused on using recycled materials to create beautiful, functional artwork. Professor Din received the UAA Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Sustainability (2013 and 2019) for her efforts to raise awareness of the “reduce” and “reuse” methods of dealing with plastic pollution.

Astor Lai is a book designer from Nantou, Taiwan. He is concerned with social, ecological, and environmental issues and uses his art to make a positive impact. As a designer, his creativity extends to other fields including interior design, graphic design, documentary filmmaking, and paper carving. In 2016, he founded the Foldism Popup Book Studio, whose purpose is to create stories from “paper folding.” In 2017, he published his first DIY pop-up book, Golden Birdwing, Metamorphosis! Our Plastic Ocean
Alexandr Feodorov
Kolyma. Permafrost Degradation.
In russian with english subtitles
I wanted to document the consequences of climate change and the melting of permafrost in the warmest place on Earth - in the Russian Arctic. I went on a trip along the Kolyma River to talk to the locals and find out how their lives have changed in recent years. And most importantly, how the nature around them has changed. And I made amazing and frightening discoveries.

The film was shot with the support of Greenpeace Russia More information on climate change on the website: The film was shot using equipment provided by Panasonic LUMIX Russia (Panasonic Rus LLC) And also thanks to Sigma and Hoya for the equipment for filming Cameras: Lumix S1H and Lumix GH5s Part of the frames was taken with the phone: Iphone11pro Lenses: Lumix 24-105 f4, Sigma 24-35 f2 (with HOYA filter) Drone: DJI mavic 2pro Tripod: Libec, Manfrotto

Olga Zaslavskaya, Vera Kuklina Vera Kliueva, Rasa Čepaitienė, Alexandra Orlova, Yanina Boldyreva, Zosya Leutina and Stanislav Podusenko
Domesticated Landscapes
Cities in the Arctic have long been the agents of colonization, built by settlers mostly for resource extraction and expansion of geopolitical power. However, settlers arriving to tame nature have developed attachment to place, and for many, it became their home. Adapting to extreme climate and environment, settlers domesticated landscape consciously and/or unconsciously to conform to their images of “normal city,” values and aesthetic preferences based on available resources. These practices and experience may serve as sources of resilience in the age of Anthropocene when human ability to transform nature has reached the highest point. This session aims to elaborate on human-nature relations in the Arctic cities using ArtScience collaboration to mutually reinforce both research and creative process.

Olga Zaslavskaya, Vera Kuklina Vera Kliueva, Rasa Čepaitienė, Alexandra Orlova, Yanina Boldyreva, Zosya Leutina and Stanislav Podusenko

The arts based research in the Arctic named Domesticating Landscapes was presented at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences.
Pictures by D. Novitsky, Animation by K. Kubarev
Kola peninsula reindeer herders’ adaptation to climate change
Research on reindeer herders’ adaptation to climate change was conducted in 2021 during the expedition to Kola peninsula (April 12, 2021 – April 25, 2021). The case study was conducted by researchers: Dr. Maria Tysiachniouk, Maria Dugina, Yana Khmelnitskaya, Tatiana Borzenko and artist Dmitrii Novitsky. We studied how reindeer herders of Krasnoschelye (Komi-Izemtsi) and Lovozero (Saami) had to change their seasonal work cycle due to climate change. During winters, reindeer herders keep animals in the forest as it is easier for reindeer to find food there. In tundra, animals suffer from recurrent thaws and frosts which lead to formation of several layers of ice crust within the snow cover. In springtime, reindeer herders have difficulty with getting around on snowmobiles. Reindeer herders are most vulnerable in the Fall due to delayed freezing of water bodies. They have to cross patches of open water on snowmobiles at high speed, at risk of drowning. Degraded snow paths make it harder to move herds to slaughter zones. Onset of the slaughtering period affects the quality of reindeer meat and herders have less time to repair corrals. Climate change manifests itself in shifts in seasonal activities that reindeer herders have to adapt to.
Jackie Fawn, Asa Wright, Isaac Murdoch, Christi Belcourt, Moira Villard,
Dio Cramer
Defund line 3
Rapid developement of pipeline infrastructures (pipelines, service roads, power lines, pumping stations, worker camps etc.) on indigenous lands and near indigenous communities are issues of growing concern among indigenous peoples around the world. Water-dependent indigenous communities are engaging with corporations and states to assert their rights and express concerns in regard to these infrastructures with varying degrees of success. This series of poster represent Water Protector's fight against the Line 3 Pipeline. Line 3 Pipeline is owened by CANADIAN TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATION ENBRIDGE and started operating in 1968. Protesters are figthing against 330 miles os new pipeline to replace 282 of the existing Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota. This new project impacts indigenous economy and public health.
Vyacheslav Krechetov
Shor, Russia

video in Russian with English subtitles
Vyacheslav Krechetov’s documentary “The Gold of Shoria” recounts the story of environmental catastrophe in southern Siberia, where coal and gold mining companies are causing irreparable harm to the traditional lands of the Shor – a small Indigenous people of Russia living on the territories of the modern Republic of Khakasia and Kemerovo Oblast. In 2021, this film won the prize for “best film on social, economic, and cultural rights” at the Bir Duino 15th International Festival of Documentary Films on Human Rights.

The Gold of Shoria” shows the consequences of such an attitude toward environmental problems: The lands, rich with natural resources, are becoming less suitable for the lives and traditional activities of the people who live on them. The fact that the Shor are categorized as a small Indigenous people under the special protection of Russian law should have served as a guarantee that a favorable environment will be preserved not just for them, but for all the residents of these territories. However, Shor lands are being irreversibly destroyed by gold and coal mining. For Indigenous peoples, this policy means not just the destruction of their customary environment, but also the loss of their identity, language, and culture.
Quilt Ojar -
- Circles on the Water

Tatiana Zhirkova
Kutkh the Raven
May 2020
Ojar, in the Saami language means “circles on the water that appear from a thrown stone”. As the circles on the water diverge from the stone, the meetings of the Arctic Indigenous Virtual Artists Network (AIVAN), are the driving force behind the development of new ideas, knowledge, plans, and collaboration between artists and craftspeople who began to virtually gather together during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. In the perception of many Indigenous peoples, a quilt is often used as a blanket that serves as a protective gear for a person. Quilt protects from cold and wet weather, from bad spirits and negative energy, and provides comfort. To receive such a blanket as a gift is a great honor. In different traditions, such blankets are constructed using a variety of images : in the form of a star, in the form of paintings, tribal trees, stories, and legends. Aboriginal artists often use quilting techniques to narrate social injustice and inequality, as well as to record the history and important events of the people.
Quilt Ojar is represented by islets from different parts of Northern Russia and the prairies of the Turtle Island: Yakutia, Murmansk, Kamchatka, Yamal, Sakhalin, Tomsk, and Iowa. Each islet tells about a unique People who over millennia have developed various technologies of comfortable life in the North. The islets provide an opportunity of a brief introduction into the ancient cultures and worldviews. These works introduce the philosophy of life of a man of the North, and understanding of the universe. In creating the islets, we used a wide variety of local materials: salmon skin, reindeer fur, eco-leather, felt, beads, reed stalks, dough, birch bark, etc. Each artist decided on the story to share and the technique to use for their island.
The idea for this project belongs to Mary Youngbear, a Meskwaki artist. During 2020-2021, the Indigenous artists were gathering online and discussed the methods of creating islets, formed a concept of the project, and co-created the final quilt. The Ojar Quilt was assembled at the ARCTICenter with support from the Museum of the University of Northern Iowa in close consultation with the participating artists. The work on assembling the quilt was carried out by Dr. Marybeth Stalp, Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Iowa .
To be continued