Ковёрым сакаш

(hang carpet — in Mari language)

I am from Yoshkar-Ola, the capital of the Republic of Mari El, and I am Mari by nationality. Yoshkar-Ola translates from Mari as “Red City”. In my project red symbolizes the world of ancestors, roots, the past.

Since the early twentieth century, the Mari have been losing their identity. This is most noticeable in the genealogical tree. My great-grandmother’s name was Slina, and her father’s name was Paymet; my Mari grandmother Nina named her son, my father, Yuri.

One of the attributes of the Soviet apartment my parents did not get rid of until now are carpets. They always surrounded me as a child.

At school, I was faced with the fact that my nationality and external differences were very visible. This could not help but become a topic of discussion among the children. Because of this, I had difficulties in accepting myself.

I moved away from my parents' home a long time ago, but with the help of the rug I can dip into my memories and recreate a connection to home elsewhere.

My project is a continuation of the research on my people’s culture that I started in 2022. I try to recover what was once forgotten and rejected. Through self-portraits and iconic symbols of Mari culture, which I “try on” myself, I create ethno-futuristic works.

The shooting took place near Tiversk, at a Karelian pagan temple, a place of unity with nature and reverence for it. Karelians, like Mari, belong to the Finno-Ugric peoples.

I address the history of my people because for me it is important to preserve this culture and bring it into the artistic field: to tell the story of what was and of a people that exists but is shy about itself.

Ковёрым сакаш. Фотограф в Санкт-Петербурге