As part of this year’s Slaveykov Days, the National Literature Museum and NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ open an exhibition of documentary photo posters titled, ‘Let everyone in the world see that the Bulgarian people are alive!’, at the Gabenski Gallery in Tryavna.
With a rich selection of exhibits, some being shown for the first time, the exhibition recreates the dynamic National Revival times when the pan-Bulgarian aspiration for enlightenment, prosperity and freedom manifested itself in the nationwide effort to open to the world, to spiritual enrichment and the elevation of humankind.
The subjects, presented on 18 roll-up banners, illustrate the most significant periods of the development of Bulgarian cultural history: the creation of the Glagolitic alphabet by the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius; the translations into the Old Bulgarian language of the Holy Scriptures, which marked for Bulgaria an awareness of literature of European and worldwide significance; the emergence of the Cyrillic system of lettering, which originated in the Preslav Literary School and replaced the Glagolitic alphabet in the late 10th and early 11th centuries, and which is used today by millions of people around the world (on 1 January 2007, the Cyrillic alphabet was recognised as the third official alphabet of the European Union, alongside the Latin and Greek alphabets); the preservation of Bulgarian literature throughout the centuries of foreign domination—official Ottoman rule and Greek spiritual influence; the first emblematic figures of the Bulgarian Revival, who led the people in the struggle for modern Bulgarian education and spiritual and political independence…
In the exhibition, a significant place is dedicated to Bulgaria’s prominent revivalist and man of letters, Petko Rachov Slaveykov: poet and writer, translator and gifted publicist, author of over 60 books, campaigner for a national church, participant in the struggle for the first Bulgarian constitution, minister, publisher, journalist… a true Renaissancist, and an encyclopaedic figure.
The thematic focus of the exhibition is the publication of Slaveykov’s Bible. Consisting of both the Old and New Testaments, this complete translation of the Bible into modern Bulgarian first appeared in 1871, under Petko Slaveykov’s supervision, the result of many years of joint work with the American missionaries, Dr Albert Long and Dr Elias Riggs, and educator Hristodul Kostovich Sichan-Nikolov.
This key event led to the definitive imposition of Eastern Bulgarian speech as the basis of the literary Bulgarian language, and greatly influenced the formation of our national lexis, ethnicity, and culture.
Brimming with rich factual evidence, this documentary exhibition provides us with an opportunity to learn more about those Bulgarians who continued Slaveykov’s work, about what was created by those close to him—spiritual aristocrats, whose family crest was poetry.
The exhibition was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.
Its curator is Rumyana Pashaliyska, with graphic design by Ivelina Velinova, and English translation by Lyubomir Gizdov.