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My Planet

Yelena

Series, 3rd place
Yelena Yelena Yelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary GelmanYelena Mary Gelman
Yelena
Yelena
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena Mary Gelman
Yelena looks in the mirror in her studio in Tazovsky.
Forest along the road to Tazovsky village.
Tazovsky is located north of the Arctic circle, with harsh long winters and strong winds.
Yelena and her friend Larisa inside a raw-hide tent in the courtyard of the local museum.
Yelena was born in the north of the Gyda Peninsula, in the northernmost settlement of Yamal’s Tazovsky District that can be accessed only by helicopter or snowmobile. Yelena holds warm memories of her childhood, and visits her relatives on holidays.
Abandoned boats on the bank of the River Taz in Tazovsky.
Founded in 1883 on the site of an old Nenets cemetery, Tazovsky was once a fishing town called Khalmer-Sede (Mount of the Dead). Today, the village is the seat of the district authorities, with new residential buildings and a vibrant economy.
Yelena often sews with her friends in her studio.
A small but cozy apartment. Yelena fires up a gas stove to warm the room. To her right sits her friend Larisa, who also moved to Tazovsky. Creativity brought the two women together. Now Larisa also sews traditional Nenets clothes.
Tazovsky, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, is a village with about 7,000 residents.
Typical things Yelena uses for sewing.
Yelena uses fish skins, deer sinew and fur, quail beaks and many other things. It is common for people in the tundra to use everything they can get from a dead animal.
When Yelena moved from a raw-hide tent to the village, getting used to a new life was hard. Sometimes she puts het mattress on the floor, and washes her face with snow in winter, instead of using water and soap. It is always cold in her apartment.
A stuffed reindeer at the Tazovsky local history museum.
Tazovsky village, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area.
Yelena on the balcony of her studio. Nature and animals serve as a source of inspiration for her.
Yelena’s frozen fish.
Yelena prepared stroganina for District Day at Tazovsky. These are thin slices of frozen fish or meat, served raw. Yelena prefers fresh reindeer meat and fish her relatives bring her from the tundra.

Raised in the tundra, Yelena learned sewing from her grandma and hunting from her father. After leaving her husband, she moved to Tazovsky. At first, she sewed to support her children, but went on to become an acclaimed designer of traditional Nenets clothing and a steward of her culture. Her work earned her recognition from the Italian Vogue. She is proud of her culture and wants to promote it.

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