THE URAL OF THE MARI: THERE IS NO DEATH
Authors: Natalia Konradova, Alexander Sorin, Fedor Telkov
Yeltsin Centre, Ekaterinburg
12.09.2019 — 27.10.2019
Novosibirsk State Museum of Local Studies
28.11.2019 — 26.01.2020
The exhibition “The Ural of the Mari: There is no death” was the result of a science and art project of the same name dedicated to the attitude of the Ural Mari towards death. The Mari are a Finno-Ugric people living in several regions of Russia, particularly in the Ural mountains. Due to their cultural isolation and compact geographic distribution, the Mari have retained their own language and national cultural traditions. The authors explain the research focus of the project as follows: “We all take flowers to the cemetery, and at memorial ceremonies we pour a glass of vodka to the deceased. Many drape sheets over mirrors and perform other rituals, not always aware of their meanings. The answers are to be found among those cultures that have better preserved their traditions. Our project is an attempt on the part of urban people to understand how the traditional, rural relationship with death has come down to us in the form of vestiges of old rituals.” Unique archival materials, interviews, songs, videos and photographs collected in the field were used in the exhibition, along with as elements of traditional Ural-Mari costume. The exposition consisted of three sections — “Life”, “Death” and “Transition” — and led the visiting public along a peculiar route into the space of death and back.