On November 24, United Nations Geneva with support of Nornickel and the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN in Geneva hosts “The World in Faces”, an exhibition of photos by the renowned Russian photographer Alexander Khimushin. The artist personally presented a collection of artistic photos of representatives of different peoples of the world, photographed in authentic national costumes in their habitat. The 170 large artistic portraits of more than 100 indigenous peoples around the world are on display in the main hall of UN Geneva’s Palais des Nations. A big part of the exhibition is dedicated to the indigenous communities of Russia’s Siberia and the Far East.
Tatyana Valovaya, Director-General of UN Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UN Geneva, and other officials took part in the exhibition opening ceremony. Indigenous people of Taimyr (including those depicted in Alexander Khimushin’s photos) also attended the ceremony. Heiro, the Taimyr Song and Dance Ensemble of the Peoples of the North, an honoured Russian folk-art band, performed during the ceremony.
Nornickel shares the goal of the “World in Faces” project — to tell the world a story about the indigenous communities, about everyday life, customs, traditions. Many of the photo portraits displayed at the exhibition were taken with the company’s support in Taimyr, home to the Dolgans, Enets, Nenets, Evenks and Nganasans.
“It is gratifying that the exhibition at the UN this year takes place as the world celebrates the International Human Rights Day. It is a great pride and honour for me to present my photo project at the UN, especially on this momentous day”, said Alexander Khimushin.
“Here, at the Palais des Nations, the exhibition enters a particular multilingual and multicultural space that is shaped by a variety of stakeholders, including 181 Permanent Missions, international organizations, academia, a rich network of civil society organizations and socially responsible business companies. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see the rich diversity of nations’ historical, cultural, religious and social backgrounds around the world, and to recall that indigenous peoples are custodians of unique relationship with nature”, said Tatyana Valovaya.
Nornickel regularly participates in projects intended to foster economic and social development of Taimy’s indigenous communities. In 2020, Nornickel signed a cooperation agreement with organisations representing the interests of the indigenous communities of the North inhabiting the Taimyr Peninsula. Together with them, and based on proposals from the chiefs of indigenous communities, a comprehensive plan for the development of the peoples was developed for a total of RUB 2 bn. The plan is designed for five years. The programme will run until 2024 and includes support for traditional activities, protection of the indigenous habitat, and financing of new homes, hospitals, museums etc.
“Nornickel has always interacted with the indigenous peoples of the Russian North in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual assistance. This year, the company’s relations with the indigenous peoples reached a new level. Based on the UN principles and objectives of sustainable development, we study, with the involvement of leading international experts and the scientific community, the socio-cultural specifics of indigenous life in Taimyr, and the traditions and historical memory of the peoples living in the region. This helps us make our support to indigenous peoples more targeted and effective. Cultural projects and support of traditional folklore and handicrafts are one of the most important components of our projects”, said Mikhail Kuznetsov, Nornickel’s Director of Federal and Regional Programmes.
The photo exhibition will run until December 10, 2021.
About the “World in Faces”
The idea behind “The World in Faces” took off in 2014. The collection of Alexander Khimushin’s photo project now includes portraits of representatives of more than 100 nations. Mr Khimushin has been working on the project in Siberia for the last several years. His project fuels the growing interest in the indigenous peoples of the Siberian region around the world.In 2018, with the support of Nornickel, Alexander Khimushin travelled to Taimyr, where he took a series of portraits of the region’s indigenous people — Dolgans, Nganasans, Enets, Nenets and Evenks. In 2018, Mr Khimushin was invited to collaborate with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prepare for the 70th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration. In 2019, officially declared the Year of the World’s Indigenous Languages, Mr Khimushin was invited to hold an exhibition of the World in Faces project at UN Headquarters in New York. The exhibition was timed to coincide with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which was attended by representatives of many peoples around the world, as well as officials and representatives of various countries. This year, with Nornickel’s support, the project was exhibited at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to coincide with the start of the Decade of Indigenous Languages.