In 1988, NEF “13 Centuries Bulgaria” set up and endowment account for an award named after Anastas Stajkov in accord with the will of the heirs of painter Anastas Stajkov.
Painter Anastas Stajkov (1905-1988) graduated from the National Art Academy in Sofia and specialized at the Gulian Academy in Paris. He lived and worked in Plovdiv. His art is connected, in the style typical of the artist, to the psychology of the Bulgarian.
The prize is awarded annually to distinguished graduates majoring in “Painting”, “Icon Painting” and “Sculpture” at the National Art High School “Tsanko Lavrenov” in Plovdiv. The endowment account of the Fund is still kept by the painter’s daughter, Dr. Maria Stajkova – an expert in the area of autoimmune illnesses at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at Australian National University in Canberra.
On the occasion of 30 years since the establishment of the prize in the name of Anastas Staykov, a team of pupils and teachers from the Tsanko Lavrenov National Secondary School of Arts in Plovdiv prepared a video dedicated to the artist and to the school’s alumni awarded the prize.
The ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund thanks the management of the secondary school and the film-makers who provided it to us.
Slava Ivanova, Executive Director of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, presented awards in the name of artist Anastas Staykov to the excellent students at the Tsanko Lavrenov School of Arts in Plovdiv.
It is remarkable that two students in the Painting and Advertising Graphics specialisms, with exactly the same overall performance—excellent marks of 5.90, were awarded in the 32nd edition of the prize.
At the end of each school year, in a tradition originating in 1988, talented graduates receive diplomas from the Fund and financial prizes from the heiress of Anastas Staykov, the first artist from the Rhodopes to receive a higher education. His daughter, Dr Maria Staykova, a specialist in autoimmune diseases at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University in Canberra, is a sponsor of the Fund’s donation account.
This year’s award ceremony was attended by Alexander Darzhikov, Chair of the Plovdiv Municipal Council, and Snezhana Furnadzhieva, President of the Society of Plovdiv Artists.
‘This is a prestigious prize, for it wins a name for those who receive it and opens for them a path to future development,’ stated the Director of the School of Arts, Svetlozar Chavdarov.
‘I am convinced that here, among you all, are the worthy future heirs of the artists who contributed to Plovdiv’s place as one of the most attractive of cities,’ said the Chair of the Plovdiv Municipal Council, Alexander Darzhikov.
‘When I look at you, I see our future. You are a sign from God that we shall be here tomorrow, too. We are awaiting you among the ranks of Plovdiv artists,’ added Snezhana Furnadzhieva, President of the Society of Plovdiv Artists.
‘I should like to congratulate you on successfully graduating from one of the most prestigious art secondary schools in Bulgaria. You are the future generation that will take its deserved place among the most significant Bulgarian artists. It is a vocation and honour for the National Endowment Fund to support the young talents of Bulgaria; and we owe our gratitude to Ms Maria Staykova, who, every year from faraway Australia, supports the award in the name of her father. I believe that you will bear this award with dignity, with honour and with thought for the future,’ said Slava Ivanova, Executive Director of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, excitedly.
And here are the names of the awarded students in the different specialisms:
Graphics: Maria Cholakova;
Painting: Alexandra Samuilova and Victoria Angelova;
Spatial Design: Ventsislav Trifonov;
Advertising Graphics: Teodora Uzunova and Yanislava Zabirova;
Sculpture: Diana Atanasova;
Icon Painting: Ivana Nacheva.
Slava Ivanova, Executive Director of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, presented awards in the name of artist Anastas Staykov to the excellent students of the 40th batch of alumni of the Tsanko Lavrenov School of Arts.
In a tradition originating in 1988, at the end of each school year, talented graduates from the specialisms of Painting, Iconography and Sculpture at the National Secondary School of Arts in Plovdiv receive prizes from the daughter and heiress of the Smolyan artist. Dr Maria Staykova, a world-renowned specialist in autoimmune diseases at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University in Canberra, is a sponsor of the Foundation’s donation account.
This year, to those awards in the traditional specialisms of Painting, Graphic Art, Sculpture, Iconography, Mural Painting, and Advertising Graphics, another was added; that of Spatial Design.
Snezhana Furnadzhieva, President of the Society of Plovdiv Artists, congratulated her future colleagues, while the Director of the Tsanko Lavrenov School of Arts, Svetlozar Chavdarov, boasted that two of the graduates in the new specialism have, based on their diploma works, already been admitted to the Academy of Arts. He emphasised that the works of pupils, among them those receiving awards, were a small part of those that deserved to be seen by connoisseurs of the figurative arts.
The diploma award ceremony began with the announcement of the names of the best pupils in the different specialities who, in accordance with the donor’s will, also received their prizes in the name of artist Anastas Staykov. On behalf of NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, Ms Slava Ivanova presented them with the awards, their financial prize, and the gift of a book from the series ‘Contemporary Bulgarian Art. Names’, on Iassen Ghiuselev’s oeuvre.
But who is Anastas Staykov, in whose name awards have been presented to graduating artists for 33 years. He is the first Rhodopean artist to have received an academic education. He graduated from the National Academy of Arts before specialising at the Académie Julian in Paris.
All his life, he lived and worked in Plovdiv, where he became a member of the Society of South Bulgarian Artists. In 1937, he held his first exhibition in Sofia. Over 20 exhibitions in the country and abroad were to follow. Staykov became an honorary citizen of his native Smolyan.
The artist incurred the wrath of those in power with his monumental canvas, ‘Rhodope Wedding’. The painting was impressive in size: eight by two and a half metres. It depicted the marriage between a Christian man and a Muslim woman—something almost heretical back in the 1950s. Anastas Staykov worked on ‘Rhodope Wedding’ for eight years. The multi-figural composition featured over 60 images of real people, including the artist’s son and wife. Among the wedding guests, one may recognise the artist’s face. The painting was shown at a general exhibition in Plovdiv in 1958, arousing unprecedented interest: it was seen by 35,000 people in a very short time; the critics, however, loyally rejected it. The blow was so severe on the vulnerable artist that he stopped painting for 10 years.
‘Rhodope Wedding’ can be seen in the Smolyan Art Gallery.
And these are this year’s winners of the Anastas Staykov Prize:
Painting – Kiti Tencheva
Graphic Art – Maria Yanakieva
Sculpture – Dimitar Lazarov
Mural Painting – Kalina Koleva
Advertising Graphic Art – Maria Kalvacheva
Spatial Design – Nikol Traykova
Iconography – Terentia Gospodinova
The award ceremony:
The prize-winning pupils and some of their works:
On 25 June, the Tsanko Lavrenov National Secondary School of Arts in Plovdiv presented diplomas to its graduates at a ceremony held in the schoolyard.
The Executive Director of the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, Slava Ivanova, presented the awards in the name of artist Anastas Staykov to the distinguished graduates: Monica Nikolaeva Kaneva, speciality in Painting; Gergana Nikolaeva Marincheshka, in Graphic Art; Gabriela Ivanova Radulova, in Painting; Elisaveta Nikolaeva Kumanova, in Advertising Graphic Art, and Hristina Mihaylova Angelova, in Advertising Graphic Art.
Following the celebration, a film specially prepared by a team of students was presented, dedicated to Anastas Staykov and to the alumni of the secondary school awarded over the past 30 years since the establishment of the prize in his name.
The graduates, awarded with the “Anastas Staykov” award for 2019 from the Pedagogical Council of the National School of Art “Tsanko Lavrenov”, are:
The winners were awarded on 21 June in the gallery of the municipal council in Plovdiv.
On June 26, 2018, National Endowment Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria” for the twenty-ninth time handed the award “Anastas Staykov” to five graduates from the class of 2017/2018 of the National School of Art “Tsanko Lavrenov”, Plovdiv.
The winners of the prize are: Nadezhda Ivova Kantardjieva, painting; Daniela Petkova, graphic; Lora Alexandrova, sculpture; Georgi Georgiev, advertising graphic. The Diploma of the winning school leavers was handed over by the Executive Director of the Fund, Mitko Todorov.
In 2018, the 30th anniversary of the creation of the donation batch in the Fund is celebrated; and the awarded creators to date are over 100.
On 23 June 2017, National Endowment Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria” awarded the prize “Anastas Staykov” to five graduates of the National Art School “Tsanko Lavrenov”, Plovdiv. The event took place at the House of Culture “Boris Hristov” where an exhibition of their works was arranged.
The prize winners are: Pamela Ivanova Raykova, painting, Maria-Luisa Georgieva Todorova, graphics, Iva Kirilova Kuzeva, iconography, Iva Milkova Staneva, advertising graphics, Victoria Stefanova Videvska, advertising graphics.
The diploma was awarded by the Executive Director of the fund, Mitko Todorov, and Dr. Maria Staykova, daughter of the artist and sponsor. She gave those awarded brushes and pencils from those with which the artist, Anastas Staykov, worked; and to the High School she gave two of his own paintings.
The National Endowment Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria” for the twenty-seventh time handed the award “Anastas Staykov” to four graduates from the class of 2016 of the National Art School “Tsanko Lavrenov”, Plovdiv. The event took place on 23 June 2016 at the House of Culture “Boris Hristov”. Award winners were: Neda Georgieva Petrova, painting; Gergana Nikolaeva Mandulova, iconography; Dimiter Krasimirov Titov, mural; Alexander Nikolaev Skerlev, advertising graphics.
On the occasion of the awarding ceremony, an exhibition with works of graduates was arranged.