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
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.
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.
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.
Arkhangelsky Arctic Museum of Art: