Who would you want with you at the edge of the world? The person closest to you, a mother perhaps, or perhaps even a beloved and loyal pet?
For the Nenets, the relationship between themselves, their environment and the reindeer that share their home is an intricate reminder of the similarities that are shared between the world’s cultures, even those that seem almost alien to us. The Nenets have a shamanistic, ritualistic belief system that emphasises a strong respect for the land and its resources; and in the Arctic the predominant resource is the reindeer.
Nenets rely on the reindeer for food, warmth, clothing and transport, and their economy is driven by the reindeer meat that they sell.
This painting was inspired by the relationship between a mother and child; the young Nenets girl seeks comfort from the reindeer mother in the same way that the reindeer calf seeks comfort and protection from her.
Photographer Jimmy Nelson has some stunning photos of the Nenets which really helped the ‘Endangered Peoples’ project to develop.
Read more about the Nenets here