Umbilical Lands and the Shape-Shifting Lives of Rivers


Artist, Bo Choy speaks with Sayana Namsaraeva, an anthropologist from Buryatia, a republic in Eastern Siberia bordering Mongolia, who’s work focuses on the indigenous cosmologies of the people from her region. Together they delve into animated landscapes that surround Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest freshwater lake on the planet.

Their conversation considers the intimate connection between these largely untouched landscapes and the rich fabric of belief systems, indigenous cosmologies, oral traditions and mythologies that emerge from them. From shared and diverging influences from pre-Buddhism shamanisms, Chinese and Mongolian Buddhisms, Feng Shui and ancient eastern philosophies, Choy and Namsaraeva discuss the spirit-life of these lands as they rub up against planetary climate urgencies and contemplate how ancient wisdoms can have a vital role in the local and global relational ecologies we must form for the future.


Bo Choy

Bo Choy is a Hong Kong-born, London-based artist working primarily in moving image. She borrows from Eastern thought and folklore traditions to navigate themes such as post-colonial identity and memory; how the personal/familial past and present are embedded in complex relations with the wider social contexts.

Sayana Namsaraeva

Sayana Namsaraeva is a senior research associate at the Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge, working on the ESRC funded project ‘Resource frontiers: managing water on a trans-border Asian river’.