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River Stars Reindeer

Imaging Evenki & Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia & Siberia

Exhibitions open 23 June – 27 September 2015

One hundred years ago the Russian ethnographer, Sergei Shirokogoroff and his wife Elizabeth, were invited to the snowforests of the Amur River to study the indigenous Evenki and Orochen peoples.  In 1929 Cambridge’s own graduate, Ethel Lindgren and her soon to be husband Oscar Mamen, went in search of these ‘ little-known tribes’ as they were considered to be ‘fast dying out’.  Together they amassed a considerable collection of 26,000 culturally and historically important photographs, the majority of which have never been seen, until now.

In collaboration with Evenki and Orochen communities and scholars, MAA and MAE (Kunstkamera), St Petersburg, as caretakers of Shirokogoroff and Lindgren’s photographic collections, are working to share these photographs with the people of Inner Mongolia and Siberia.  From the excitement of recognising faces, to the beauty of the reindeer, or the heated debates about what is happening in the photographs, this evocative exhibition is about the reconnection of these communities with their images, their histories, and their stories.


“Reindeer with pack & crib held by Kardin & Nikolaevich Buldotovsky.”

Baramakan Camp, Inner Mongolia

Photograph by Oscar Mamen, 3 August 1929

MAA N.21731.LIN


“A shaman, a shamaness, and a Achinsk Lama with their helpers.”

Deliun ulus, Urul’chin volost’, Zabaikail oblast’, Siberia

Photograph by Sergei Shirokogoroff, June 1912

MAE 2002-055