Renowned lecturers enrich the ‘River of Tolerance’ participants

Young artists from the Balkans will take a virtual peep inside the studios of the National Academy of Arts and the Sarafs’ House in Samokov

Text: Magdalena Gigova

The ‘River of Tolerance’ Art Festival for young artists and their lecturers from the Balkans will be held online for the first time, due to the coronavirus crisis. This has forced artists from Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, and Romania to virtually tour the historical and architectural monument of the Sarafs’ House between 13 and 17 September, visit various studios at the National Academy of Arts and get to know each other through their computer screens.


The event, organised by NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ in a traditional partnership with UNESCO, is part of the celebrations, which continue throughout 2021, of the 40th anniversary of the state donative organisation. A constellation of prominent lecturers will join us to share their knowledge and experience with their young colleagues.


One of them is Svilen Stefanov, artist, art historian and critic, and curator, who was one of the main representatives of the creative XXL Group. He studied at the Secondary Art School before graduating and acquiring his professorship in the History of Art. He is Deputy Rector of the National Academy of Arts. He will deliver his lecture to the ‘River of Tolerance’ participants from his studio in that iconic building.


Ivan Kyuranov, D.A., Chief Assistant to the Photography Master’s Programme at the National Academy of Arts, belonged to the same XXL G group. He graduated in painting in Sofia, before specialising in contemporary art through the medium of photography in the studio of Assoc. Prof. Diego Esposito at the BRERA Academy of Fine Arts in Milan.


The Doctor of History of Art and the Figurative Arts will virtually share his expertise with our foreign participants.


Venelin Shurelov is another member of the National Academy of Arts who will lecture online. He is Associate Professor and Doctor of Art History and the Arts. He graduated in Scenography and is a co-founder of, and lecturer in, the Digital Arts Master’s Programme, a member of the curatorial team of the DA FEST International Festival of Digital Art, and a founder of the SubHuman Theatre and the Via Pontica Art Group.


Assoc. Prof. Yohan Yotov teaches Graphic Art and Composition at the National Academy of Arts. A former student of Prof. Petar Chuklev, he is now a prominent practitioner of IMP-ART. Literally, the term means ‘impossible art’, where the objects and spaces depicted may be constructed on a two-dimensional plane, but it is impossible for them to exist in reality. His works are executed using classical graphic techniques such as lithography, and mixing various practices from the rich arsenal of intaglios. It is these techniques that the participants in the ‘River of Tolerance’ will learn from him, albeit virtually.


Snezhana Yoveva-Dimitrova breaks the male hegemony of the lecturers’ society of the ‘River of Tolerance’. The Director of the State Institute of Culture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lasting interests and knowledge as a researcher in Sociolinguistics and Ethnolinguistics. She is involved in international interdisciplinary projects researching Bulgarian communities in Europe.


And since Muhammad won’t go to the Mountain, it must come to him, online; in this case, with the help of Dr Veselin Hadzhiangelov, Director of the History Museum in Samokov. Especially for NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ and the ‘River of Tolerance’ participants, he will present the historical and cultural history of the city, which, due to the coronavirus, they will not be able to visit in person.


Thanks to the video by Tsvetan Ignatovski, a participant in previous editions of the art festival, young artists from Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, and Romania will also have the opportunity to view the Sarafs’ House, where, at a different time, they would have worked together, and become personally acquainted with each other.

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