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ADVENTURES IN SIBERIA
10.10.2014 - 1.2.2015
The National Museum, 2nd floor
|The exhibition features photographs by researcher of Siberian languages
and cultures Kai Donner from his expeditions between 1911 and 1914. The
year 2014 marks the centennary of his expeditions, which were done 100
Kai Donner (1888‒1935) was a Finnish linguist, ethnographer, explorer,
writer and a political figure. He went on two expeditions to Siberia and
his subject of study was the Selkup language, known as Ostyak-Samoyed
at the time.
The photos of Kai Donner take you on a time travel to Siberia in the
1910´s. In the exhibition one can meet indigenous people, but also
merchants, officials, priests, monks, doctors and descendants of Finns,
Swedes and Germans exiled to Siberia in Russian towns and villages.
Donner succeeded in photographic shamans who agreed to have their
pictures taken after hesitating for a long while. In addition, he
photographed landscapes and the various stages of his travels.
Donner's first expedition in 1911 extended to the wilderness regions,
tundra and taiga between the Ob and Yenisei rivers. He occasionally
travelled in temperatures around -50 Celsius. The journey from the River
Taz to the Ob was carried with reindeer in the company of Samoyeds
through uninhabited tundra. This journey of over 500 km was full of
adventures with the threat of frostbite and even starvation. In 1914,
Donner travelled once again to Siberia and succeeded in recording in his
notes the language of the last Kamassians on the slopes of the Sayan
Donner had two cameras in Siberia. His Kodak No. 2 Bulls-Eye box camera
produced square (86.5 x 86.5 mm) pictures and the No. 3A Folding Pocket
Kodak camera postcard-sized pictures (82 x 140 mm). Donner's collection
of photographs containing over 500 negatives is included in the Picture
Collections of the National Board of Antiquities.
The manuscript to the photography exhibition is written by Professor
Juha Janhunen PhD from The University of Helsinki and by photographer
Peter Sandberg and by keeper Ildikó Lehtinen.
The exhibition also includes events and an illustrated publication Kai Donner Linguist, ethnographer, photographer in English.
tel. 040 128 6362