International Fair “Treasures of the North. Craftsmen and Artists of Russia 2021” Ended in Moscow

Representatives from 21 regions of Russia took part in the colossal event that plays an important role in the lives of indigenous minorities. The attendance of the Sakhalin delegation was organised by the regional government and the Ministry of Culture and Archives of the Sakhalin Oblast and Sakhalin Energy.

From 8 to 12 September, the culture of the Sakhalin indigenous minorities captured the attention of the Moscow audience with its artful ornaments and designs, national cuisine, the first ever graphic novel featuring a Nivkh as the main character, a presentation about a rare Sakhalin husky breed and literary interpretation of epics of Sakhalin indigenous peoples. Along with the great interest from numerous attendees of the exhibition, the island delegation also won the praise of the jury. Delegation members took home an ample number of awards including 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree diplomas and special prizes.


The Sakhalin Oblast booth won second place in The Best Regional Display category. The display showcased colourful illustrations depicting episodes from the folklore of the Nivkhs, the Uilta, the Evenks and the Nanai – the pictures from the book The Tales of Sakhalin published by Sakhalin Energy. The booth gave the attendees an opportunity to delve into the philosophy and the universe of indigenous people’s art and served as a platform for interactive workshops of Sakhalin craftsmen and artists. The mentors shared their know-hows with the attendees and told them about the rich cultural traditions of their ancestors, thus ensuring that their legacy will live on.

Ykh-Mif People (People of Sakhalin) Ethnocultural Centre gave a brilliant performance at the Nomads of the North Festival of Cultures and won first place in the song and dance contest in the Theatrical Performance category. As the team’s coach Elena Nitkuk commented, they always have hope for victory and the determination to do everything to win.

A remarkable example of the intertwining of cultures was presented by the Patchwork Island quilt studio in the form of its fashion collection. The members of the studio, although not representatives of the indigenous minorities themselves, were inspired by the beauty of the national ornaments and created extraordinarily stylish garments which brought them the well-deserved victory in the Best Modern Costume with Ethnic Elements (Summer Collection) category at the Polar Style Festival.

The crafts of the young artist Mikhail Kurov from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk took the second place in the Woodcarving and Woodpainting category in the Best Work of National Folk-Art competition. Second place in the same competition also went to Elena Sadinova from Nogliki for her unique fish-skin national costume.

In its turn, the Nomads of the North Festival hosted a cooking competition that brought together participants from all the regions of Russia that are home to indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East. In a fair competition, dishes made by the Arkvorgun elder Natalya Suprun from Nogliki were awarded second place in the National Cuisine contest. The dishes that won silver were yak tush (earless seal meat), tursh panykh (deer broth) and ma (sun-dried fish).

In the Best Work of National Folk-Art competition, the 3rd degree diploma in the Textile, Felt and Embroidery category was awarded to designs by Albina Mygun and Aleksandra Voksina from the village Nekrasovka of the Okhinsky District, and the bronze in the Souvenir Products category went to Galina Kukhtina from Okha. Lyudmila Paskit from Nogliki, Anna Li from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Natalya Kelman from the village of Nekrasovka of the Okhinsky District received special prizes For the Preservation of National Traditions.

The organiser of the Treasures of the North Exhibition-Fair, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, sent the Governor of the Sakhalin Oblast and the Chief Executive Officer of Sakhalin Energy letters of appreciation for their invaluable contributions to the preservation and development of ethno-cultural legacy of Russia.

Treasures of the North. Craftsmen and Artists of Russia 2021 International Exhibition-Fair was supported by the State Duma Committee on Issues of Nationalities, Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs and Polenov Russian State Folk Art House.

15 September 2021