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The Sámi of Murmansk will show their traditional belts at the international handicraft exhibition

Yevgenia Volkova
Valentina Sovkina

Participants of the Sámi Women's Forum from Murmansk Oblast are meeting online with the representatives of indigenous peoples from Yakutsk, Magadan, Tomsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and Meskwaki (USA) in early August. The craftswomen will talk about the traditional belts of the Sámi, Yakut, Chukchi, Koryaks, Native Americans, and other peoples via video conference: what the purpose of these pieces of clothing was, how they were made, and what the ornaments meant.

— We used to believe that a woman can go without a belt only at home, and that she had to wear her belt when going out, - Sámi woman Valentina Sovkina, the representative of the Sámi Women's Forum Organization in Murmansk Oblast told 7x7. — Sámi women's belt had important things for life: there should have been a needlecase with bone needles and a thread made of veins, a thimble, a grindstone and a knife, a cup and a spoon on the belt.

The online exhibition of belts is part of the Sharing the Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples Through Arts and Crafts Project. It is organized by representatives of the Meskwaki Cultural Center and Museum and the Arctic, Remote and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Northern Iowa (USA).

The first meetings of the supporters of preserving the culture of indigenous peoples from the Northern regions of Russia and the United States were held via videoconferencing in July 2020. Participants agreed to exchange ideas, sewing patterns, and techniques of arts and crafts, and regularly conduct workshops online.

— I have told them who the Sámi are, where we live, and shown the types of handicrafts. For example, I have shown a Sámi travel bag, so everyone wanted to learn how to sew it. Next week, I am holding a workshop for the project participants via Zoom, — Valentina Sovkina said.

Саамская женская сумка

Sámi handbag. Photo by Valentina Sovkina

Representatives of each nationality are involved into a joint project: everyone is to make a fragment of a common panel — a global picture — in their own technique. At the first stage, the collage is made of photos of products, and at the second stage, the fragments of the Earth are connected and the final work is presented at offline exhibitions.

— We want to make a real global picture in the techniques of different peoples as a symbol of unity and valuable diversity, - explained Valentina Sovkina. — We are waiting for the situation in the world to become more stable and "frameless", and then it will be possible to arrange a real meeting and exhibition.


Yevgenia Volkova, «7х7»

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