Hyperborea – Stories from the Arctic

In 2013, photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva travelled onboard an ice-breaker ship that delivered supplies to remote locations on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

This trip was the first of a series of extensive journeys to places most people consider far away and exotic. For those who live there, however, the places are home. They are sites of work and play, of living off and with the land – of being born and growing old. But how long will life continue like this? 

“I spent my childhood running about the tundra and watching the northern lights as I walked to school in the polar night, the two months of darkness that’s not just winter but also a state of mind. (…) But the Arctic has been calling me back. I am my real self only when I am here.”

Evgenia Arbugaeva

The places and people Arbugaeva photographs are at the centre of monumental changes. The fall of the Soviet Union led to communities across northern Russia being abandoned, and changes in the climate make life for Arctic herders and hunters ever more untenable.

Even so, Arbugaeva’s images convey a sense of timeless calm – perhaps due to the long periods of time she spends in each place she visits. While some of her images appear almost as staged tableaux, they are the results of slowly getting to know each place and the people she meets there.

Photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva

Evgenia Arbugaeva website

The exhibition was curated by


Marthe Tolnes Fjellestad