Sara Bardotti – Nenet

Sara Bardotti – Nenet

In the language of Nenet people,Yamal means the end of the world.It is a remote,windy place covered with permagelo, frozen lakes and rivers,dwarf shrubs and infrastructure built for gas extraction. Yes,the homeland of the Nenet, nomadic reindeer herders and fishermen for over a thousand years, has been threatened by land exploitation as well as the climate crisis for years now. Nenet herders move with their reindeer according to the rhythms of the seasons, following ancient Arctic migration routes. Reindeer for the Nenet are everything: home, food, a way to keep warm from the frigid temperatures that reach as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius, as well as the means of transportation for migration. Their coats are made of reindeer fur, the same fur they use to cover their tents called Chum. Living with them you realize how much this territory, however hostile,is still able to offer the resources to lead a completely autonomous life based on recycling,how man,nature and animals can live in symbiosis,exploiting each other’s resources for the benefit of the others. Sleeping all together in a 10-square-meter space, with no bathroom,no running water and no electricity, we learn to overcome the concept of privacy and comfort, spend time talking in front of the stove fire, drinking tea, savoring a hot meal and playing with children who imaginatively turn bowls into toys. Thick reindeer furs are our bedding for the night. An ancient way of life that is in danger of disappearing, along with its inhabitants. As the Yamal is the peninsula with the largest gas reserves on the planet, it is under constant drilling that is changing the face of the tundra, making migration increasingly difficult. A precious balance between man and nature that is once again on the ‘brink of breaking down. What, then, is the real hostile side of this land at the end of the world?

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