Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tyko Vylka, a Samoyed / Nenets artist

The Nenets are a branch of Samoyed native people of northern Siberia, an arctic population related to the north-scandinavian (Laponia) sami. They are a nomadic people, living traditionally in tents, herding reindeer and hunting bears and seals. For centuries abandoned and then used as a cheap labour force in plants, they have now started to be respected and to have their environment and costumes protected.

I have been posting here about Novaya Zemlya archipelago, off the coast of arctic Siberia; these islands' native population is a small Nenets tribe, that was expelled from the islands as the nuclear program began.

From that ethnic group came Tyko Vylka, a man that would play a major role in local History in soviet times. But also he came to be a renowned and broadly appreciated artist, and that is what I'm writing about now.

Tyko Vylka was born in 1886, at Belushya Guba, Novaya Zemlya, and grew up among the Nenets hunters.

He was a storyteller, social and political activist , but mainly he was the most famous Nenets painter and author, notable for his Arctic landscapes.

The fabulous landscape of Novaya Zemlya inspired most of Vylka works.

The creative activity of self-taught primitivist Tyko Vylka is one of a kind. It is original and inimitable, though his style is as simple as that of a child. Painting was Tyko Vylka’s hobby and a passion for life.

Belushya Guba, 1950

In 1909, Vylka leaves for Moscow, where he studied painting . In 1910, in Arkhangelsk, an exhibition "Russian North" presented for the first time Vylka's work.

Auroras are frequent over Belushya Guba.

Many of his paintings date back to the 1950s. By that time the painter had moved to Arkhangelsk.

Art Musem of the Arctic, Arkhangelsk - Vylka works on the right.

The theme in all Tyko Vylka’s paintings is the longing for his motherland and the idea of getting the world to know more about Novaya Zemlya through art.

Seing the Matochkin Strait

Nenets on Matochkin

Matochkin strait

Arkhangelsky Arctic Museum of Art: