Text: Magdalena Gigova
The ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund and the State Institute for Culture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have created a virtual contact with a national treasure.
The exhibition ‘Bread’, with drawings and texts by the artist Atanas Katchamakoff, part of the Fund’s collection, is arranged in the salons of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, despite the Covid-19 measures, is being admired daily by scores of employees and guests of the institution.
The 30 drawings, which, through images and explanations, describe how bread is created, leading the visitor through the various stages and seasons, will remain in the diplomatic base until April 2021.
The artist and sculptor Atanas Katchamakoff is not widely known in Bulgaria, but he has an assured place in the history of American art. He was born in 1898 in Lyaskovets. His father insisted that he graduate from the Faculty of Law at St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University; however, the young man demonstrated a talent in drawing from an early age and, after his graduation, he enrolled in the sculpture class of Prof. Ivan Lazarov at the Academy of Arts in Sofia.
In 1924, he left for Paris and then for the United States. In 1931, Katchamakoff won the First Prize in a large exhibition in New York for his marble sculpture, ‘Indian Woman and Child’.
Later, he settled in Hollywood and worked for some major film productions, such as ‘The Song of Songs’.
His real breakthrough in the United States came with the children’s novel ‘Dobry’; news related to this will be announced in more detail in the next post.
In the early 1980s, the artist returned to Bulgaria and held a large exhibition at the National Art Gallery. His works (30 drawings and 2 sculptures, donated by the artist) are kept at the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ Fund.
They often leave the repository, as in the case of the exhibition at the Foreign Ministry, in order to recount, through Atanas Katchamakoff’s talent, stories of the way of life in a Bulgarian village in the early 20th century.
‘The exhibition “Bread” is an element of the partnership relationship between NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ and the State Cultural Institute. This is one of the ways to popularise and socialise Katchamakoff’s legacy, as well as through the video shared by the two organisations.’, said Snezhana Yoveva-Dimitrova, Director of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute.
Dr Mila Stareyshinska-Angelova, Projects and Programmes Expert at NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, with the aid of cameraman Tsvetan Ignatovski, takes us on a short virtual tour of the ‘Bread’ exhibition.