Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in 1985 in the remote Russian town of Tiksi. Following the disintegration of the USSR, Evgenia’s family moved to Yakutsk. She has since lived in Moscow and New York, before settling in London – but the pull of the Arctic Circle has never left her.
In 2010, Evgenia returned to her hometown of Tiksi. Living with the family of a young girl, Tanya, Evgenia was able to experience the magic and awe of the town she felt as a child through her, despite its new abandoned state. Tiksi is alive with this energy: the nostalgic collection is vibrant and whimsical.
Evgenia formed a genuine connection with Tanya before her depiction in Untitled 18. Relationships with the subject are key in Evgenia’s work. She lived with Slava, who runs an isolated weather station and is the subject of Weather Man, for a few weeks to understand him and his life. In contrast to Tiksi, Weather Man is dark and tonally rich. Despite the shadowy palette and the solitary subject, there is contentment and a romantic mood in these images. All Evgenia’s work, in fact, encapsulates a cinematic dreaminess that is a delight to view.
In 2018, National Geographic named Evgenia as one of their Media Innovation Fellows for her work highlighting the lives and stories of those along the Northern Sea Route in Russia. Other stories of hers have also been included in the magazine, such as her documentation of the mammoth hunters of Yakutia in 2013 and her exploration of the natural gas industry’s impact on nomadic reindeer herders in 2017. Evgenia has been awarded accolades such as the ICP Infinity Award and her work has been featured in numerous museums, including the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen.