Art Project: Yakutian Cattle – Exploring Expedition to Siberia in the 21st century

Abstract(1: ‘In spring 2005, a multidisciplinary research team from Helsinki University and MTT Agrifood Research Finland conducted a field study in the Eveno-Bytantay district of the Sakha Republic in the Russian Federation. The goal was to investigate possible socio-economic risks connected to the preservation of endangered Yakutian cattle in three remote, Siberian villages. Yakutian cattle has survived only in these three villages as a population of 1000 heads. One member of the team was an artis with scientific background in animal breeding. She worked with the research team, interviewing people and drawing, painting and photographing the cattle. Working among the cattle made it possible to get to know the cattle from up close, to understand their characters and temperaments. The main part of the artistic work was done later in Helsinki. The outcome was an artistic project Yakutian Cattle – Exploring Expedition to Siberia in the 2000’s. It includes an exhibition, a documentation, and a description of cattle keeping practices on daily level over seasons in the extreme environment of the Eveno-Bytantay district. The paper gives an overview of the project. Symbiotic relationship of humans and cattle in these Siberian villages, our perceptions on animals and animal-human relationships are discussed.’  

(1 The symbiotic human animal relationship: An artistic investigation of Yakutian cattle,  Anu Osva, 2010.  The full article: in Good to eat, good to live with: Nomads and Animals in Northern Eurasia and Africa (Northeast Asian Studies Series 11) eds Florian Stammler and Hiroki Takakura, Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University
Yakutian Cattle – 9 Portraits, 2007, oil,  55-65 x 40 cm
Siberian Sky, 2007, oil,  170x270cm

Cotravellers, 2008, oil, three parts á 170×70 cm

9 Paths, oil,  2007, 85×195 cm

Mother’s Pearls, 2007,  plaster spheres, acrylic color,  25 m.
Mother’s Pearls represents genetic information in the mitochondrial sequence T4, found in Yakutian cattle (Kantanen, personal communication (2007). Each nucleotide is marked with one of four different size plaster spheres that refer to four different constituent bases of DNA, adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine (the basic elements of genetic information in DNA). Bases (i.e. spheres in this work) that make this sequence T4 type are marked with red glow, other bases (i.e. spheres) reflect green on the wall.

Gallery Katariina Helsinki, Gallery Myymälä2 Helsinki,  Gallery Uusikuva Kotka, Nacka Konsthalle Stockholm Sweden.