“Bulgaria through the Glass Prism of Time” is a project of the Values Foundation and is both unusual as an idea, innovative in concept and contemporary in realization. The photo exhibition sheds light on a mosaic of Bulgarian documentary images from the 1920s and 1930s. The display presents a selection of historical, ethnographic and geographic details in the context of European values. “The Old” is in the focus of the spotlight, illuminated by the tools of “the New”.
The exhibition is the result of a meaningful diplomatic and human encounter which took place 20 years ago. The story of the 36 artifacts included in the display is quite unusual. In 1999, an Italian aristocrat of Bulgarian origin, Mrs. Nadezhda Bliznakov donated to Mrs. Antonina Stoyanova, who was our First lady at the time and a career diploma herself, a family relic – photographic plates that belonged to her grandfather Marko Bliznakov, one of the founders of the port business in Bulgaria. The erudite Bulgarian was sent by King Ferdinand to specialize in Italy where he fell in love with Petronella Veneziani, a girl of noble ancestry. He became the Honorary Consul of his homeland in Italy, and with the glass plates, which are in a way the “predecessor of the slide, he was informing the public about the beauties of his homeland.
In time, Bliznakov became the Patriarch of a family which produced a large number of Italian diplomats. Benevolent fate sent, as an English teacher to his daughters, the legendary writer and one of the fathers of the modern novel, James Joyce. The donor of the precious collection, Nadezhda Bliznakov, is a “live” participant in the exhibition through her interview recorded in Italy by Milena Kaneva and Irina Dilkova.
Mrs. Antonina Stoyanova and the Values Foundation, with the exclusive support of the businesswoman Neli Beshirova, present an exhibition with a fascinating history and imagery, providing us with the rare opportunity to rediscover our cultural heritage, customs and crafts, lifestyle and national spirit and to connect Bulgarian events and people through the prism of the time.
Curator: Dr. Raina Damyani
Project Coordinator: Magdalena Gigova
Film: Milena Kaneva, Irina Dilkova
Ethnography Consultant: Anelia Milusheva
Photography Consultant: Ivo Hadjimishev