Dashi Namdakov, the Russian sculptor and artist based in London, has created a monumental sculpture to be installed on an island at Lake Baikal. ‘Guardian of Baikal’ is a large bronze sculpture more than seven meters high concepted in his UK studio in Hertfordshire.

The installation is a modern representation of traditional nomad and shaman mythologies, connected with natural forces. Archetypical elements of Dashi Namdakov’s work along with the feeling of figurative thinking create a symbol of wisdom and the human connection with nature. The sculpture echoes an old shaman, whose features look through the bark of the man-made tree – he is calm, peaceful, and strong enough to protect Baikal.

The sculpture at Lake Baikal was permanently installed ahead of the 7th Moscow Biennale. DashiNamdakov and his studio created an immersive experience for visitors to the biennale. In Moscow’s Tretyakov gallery a smaller version of the original sculpture has been be installed surrounded by virtual reality goggles in a room designed for the purpose. Visitors will be transported thousands of kilometers to the remote Lake Baikal through parallel worlds where they will see invisible universes of spirits and nature with unique sound effects. One world will show quotations written in the old Mongolian language of ancient elders passing through a tree. Insta360 Pro cameras installed at Lake Baikal will show the beauty of the original sculpture and its unique natural surroundings.

Environmental Concerns

Born in the Baikal region, Dashi Namdakov feels a strong spiritual connection with the natural environment. ‘Guardian of Baikal’ is a physical manifestation of the increasing environmental concerns threatening the UNESCO heritage site. Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world containing more than 20% of the world’s fresh surface water. In the past couple of decades, the lake has been exposed by industrial liquid waste from factories and tourism increasing the number of invasive algae. Additionally, in recent years, the area has been threatened by planned energy facilities.

Dashi Namdakov, Artist & Sculptor: “Locals, whose connection with the great lake is stronger, are often incapable of informing the rest of the world of their fears and problems. Their voices remain unheard and their resources aren’t enough to draw attention to what is happening. Through the sculpture we hope to turn the world’s attention to the problems of Baikal.”

A documentary – ‘In the middle of the world’ – by film studio ‘Ostrov’ will reinforce public attention to the environmental concerns at Lake Baikal. The project created by producer Sergey Miroshnichenko and director Marina Maria Melnik is meant to be a reflection of the lake’s current ecological situation, as well as a documentation of the creation of ‘Guardian of Baikal’ sculpture by Dashi Namdakov from beginning to installation.

The immersive virtual reality experience of ‘Guardian of Baikal’ will be on display in Moscow at the Tretyakov Gallery from 19th of September 2017 – 18thof January 2018.

About Dashi Namdakov:

Dashi Namdakov is a prolific Russian artist who creates a breath-taking range of sculptures, drawings, bespoke jewellery and architectural concepts inspired by his Eastern heritage. Dashi forms his own structure of images and expressive means. In his created world ancient tales and the present day, myths and reality coexist.

Born in February 1967 in Ukurik, the region of Siberia, Dashi grew up in a traditional nomadic culture and was introduced to craftsmanship by his father before studying Fine Arts in Krasnoyarsk. Until today he has worked with materials such as stone and wood which he mixes with precious metals or bronze, mammoth tusks and semi-precious stones giving them their unique appeal.

Dashi honours the past and celebrates the present by combining his Eastern heritage with Western culture and traditional craftsmanship with innovative techniques and modern forms.

  • Date: 19 September 2017 - 18 January 2018
  • The Tretyakov Gallery The Tretyakov Gallery, Krymsky Val, Moscow