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Yakuts have piece of land and their "ambassador" in Iceland

  • Published in Society
Kyoregey with BEA
On October 31, during an official visit to the Republic of Iceland Egor Borisov visited the picturesque countryside Whale Fjord (about 50 kilometers southwest of Reykjavik), where in informal surroundings he met with families of Alexandra Argunova - Kyueregey and Maria Shishigina permanently residing in this Nordic country.

Amazing, dramatic story of life of a native of the village of Byuteydyah, Megino-Kangalassky region of Yakutia, Alexandra Argunova is worth admiration.It is no coincidence that writer Suzanne Svavarsdottir wrote a whole book about the fate of a Yakut woman, who earned universal respect and credibility in faraway Iceland.

In the early 60-ies of the last century, a talented young girl Alexandra entered the Theatre Institute in Moscow, where she met director and screenwriter Magnus Jonsson from Iceland.Their friendship turned into love, and in 1966, having graduated from the Acting Department of the Theatre Institute, Alexandra got married and moved to Reykjavik with her husband.They had four children - daughter Kyunney Maria and sons - Jon, Ari and Ragnar, but 13 years after the wedding Magnus died suddenly.As a result, many children's mother was left a widow in a foreign country, far from her native land.

Today she recalls with tears on eyes that difficult period in her life when she was ready to give the world to get back to Yakutia.But it was impossible.Only 25 years after moving to Iceland, when the Soviet Union finally collapsed, Argunova was able to come to her beloved republic.

However, all these years of excruciating homesickness she remembered about Yakutia, sang Yakut songs with her beautiful voice, honored traditions of her people.In 1986, Alexandra founded the Society for the development of cultural relations between Iceland and Yakutia (ISJAKI), and in 2008, on her hard-earned money has built a real Yakut house among snowy Icelandic rocks.

Every corner of this small structure, proudly bearing the name of the Center of Yakut culture in Iceland, shows heart aching nostalgia and love.Interestingly, part of the materials for the house, thanks to the support of the republic's leaders and friends of Alexandra Argunova, was brought to Reykjavik from Yakutia.In the interior of the yurt no detail of the national culture is missed, there is also a fire-place, decorated with magnificent stone mosaics made ​​by gifted hands of Alexandra.

Throughout her life Alexandra has been serving art in Iceland and abroad as an actress, costume designer, decorator and folk singer.In schools and amateur theaters she taught adults, children and teenagers, has long worked as an art therapist in the psychiatric ward of the Icelandic State Hospital.

The last twenty years Argunova works as a professional artist.In 1993 – 1994 she studied at one of the oldest art academies of Spain Escola Massana Barcelona, ​​is a member of many creative unions uniting prominent artists of Iceland and Denmark, as well as an honorary member of the Union of Artists of Sakha (Yakutia).Her paintings, sculptures, appliqué works, mosaics are of tremendous success in Iceland, Sweden, Russia, Spain.

In 2007 Kyueregey was conferred a mark of distinction "Civic Virtue" and President’s Certificate of Merit , later awarded the title of "Honorary Citizen of Megino-Kangalassky Region" and "Honored Artist of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)".

Few years ago Maria Shishigina unwittingly turned out to be in the track of Alexandra Argunova, she married Icelander Arnar Pálsso. He for a time had worked in Yakutsk as an aircraft leasing specialist.Now Maria and Arnar live in Reykjavik with their three children.Fortunately, Maria can come home at any time and, by her own admission, she does this quite often. But one can feel that Iceland has long become a home for her.She doesn’t have communication problems, as in due time she graduated from the Faculty of Foreign Languages.
Maria Shish with husband
Husband of Mary Shishigina - Arnar Palsson plays khomus and sings Yakut songs

Meeting with families of Alexandra and Maria was very warm.Sheltering dear guests from piercing Icelandic wind in her cozy house, Kyueregey fed them a delicious meal, which she prepared herself.

Alexandra Argunova also invited her old friends - Head of Icelandic society "Peace" with his wife and famous Yakut folklorist, virtuoso khomus musician Spiridon Shishigin, who arrived to visit his niece Maria.

Having warmed hands at the fire, Egor Borisov admitted that he admired real civil and maternal feat of Alexandra.He compared the life history of Kyueregey (in Yakut means "lark", a symbol of humility and high flying) with his mother’s life, who was widowed too early, but raised eight children.

Though it was in Yakutia and not in a foreign country, where it is much harder to wait for care and compassion.
Middle son of Alexandra Ari is successful film director

Egor Borisov also expressed his deepest appreciation that Alexandra living nearly half a century outside of Yakutia, never forgot her roots and still remembers her mother tongue and knows native culture better than some of her fellow countrymen.

The meeting flew in one breath: they were talking of politics, art, especially the Icelandic nature which is very similar, as Egor Borisov said, to the landscapes around Tiksi, a village located on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
BEA on tour Iceland

Leaving the house on Whale Fjord, IL Darkhan (Yakut President) recorded in the book of honored guests and invited Alexandra Argunova to Yakutia any time at Republic’s expense.

 The same evening, at a reception at the Russian Embassy in Iceland Egor Borisov, on behalf of all yakutians cordially thanked his compatriots for the promotion of Yakut culture abroad and handed Alexandra Argunova- Kyueregey honorary medal of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) "for strengthening peace and friendship."

"The distance between Yakutsk and Reykjavik is 8400 kilometers, but we understand that Iceland is very close to us.Because in this wonderful country we have our "ambassador" and a piece of Yakut land.Alexandra Argunova is our legendary woman who promotes our culture here, centuries-old traditions of our people. Hats off to her for it!"- said Egor Borisov.

In response Kyueregey thanked the leadership of the Republic and personally Egor Borisov for his attention to her humble person:"I just give my love and duty to my Motherland. My business is continued by my children".