The University has opened an exhibition of hand-drawn stories about the languages of the Finno–Ugric peoples. Comic strips were created by artists, students, lecturers, and librarians from Russia and Europe.

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Enthusiasts from the Leningrad Region, Karelia, Udmurtia, Mari El, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, as well as Finland, Norway and Estonia have united in the desire to tell about their native languages, their destiny and values for humanity. For some of them, this was the first experience of creating comic strips.

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According to the exhibition organisers, it is no coincidence that they have chosen St Petersburg University as a venue. ‘It was important for us to make it possible for students who are already studying Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian to learn more about related languages,’ explains Anna Voronkova, a translator and author of the Living Language project. 

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The work was carried out as part of the Living Language art project with the assistance of the Institute of Finland. ‘Our exhibition might inspire those who have never drawn a comic strip. They will try to do it for the first time, as activists from all over Russia did as part of our workshops,’ said Kerttu Matinpuro, the project coordinator of the Institute of Finland in St Petersburg.

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The exhibition will be on display at St Petersburg University until 17 October, 2019. The venue: 11, Universitetskaya Emb., the corridor of the first floor next to Room 199.

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The purpose of the exhibition is not only to broaden linguistic horizons, but also to discuss new forms of promotion and work with minority languages. ‘There are a lot of minority languages in the world. Our exhibition is a kind of example of how to study endangered languages, and how to support their existence. In our case, it is with the help of comics!’ continues Kerttu Matinpuro. 

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This year, an exhibition of Finno–Ugric hand-drawn stories has already been on display in many Russian universities and museums, and was also presented as part of the festival of comics in Finland. In the near future, the exhibition will be shown in Brazil at the international congress dedicated to the year of indigenous languages. And 2020 will see a release of a collection with the best comic strips in Russian, English and Finnish.

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