SOFIA’S LABYRINTH by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4DESIGN, creators of the Pierre Detective series

22/06/2023 - 20/07/2023

Vernissage on Thursday, 22 June, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

‘Sofia’s Labyrinth’ is the new story of Hiro Kamigaki, creator of the “Detective Pierre” book series, beloved by many children and their parents in our country. In this project, children of different ages will build their own routes and immerse themselves in the cultural traditions of Bulgaria, combined with the images of superheroes, kukeri and rose pickers, will track their movement through the streets of the capital, find the clues and solve the additional mysterious challenges on the road. The routes are woven into the drawings so detailed and colorful that they turn each maze into a work of art!

The magical worlds that Hiro Kamigaki creates easily reach children’s imaginations through the illustrated complex mazes with mysterious paths, futuristic cities, hot air balloons, treasures, animals, ninjas, fantasy characters, haunted houses. Each illustration is actually a diagram in which you have to find your way from start to finish. And as if that’s not fun enough, like real detectives you have to find hidden objects, train your observation, answer questions, help others, practice your English.

The typical approach of Hiro Kamigaki’s to building each new world involves meticulous site research, gathering information from photographic material, satellite maps, urban plans, typology of local customs and cultural features. Kamigaki creates a utopian world in his mind unencumbered by direct contact with the respective city, he does not initially visit the place he is about to paint in order to allow his imagination to construct a new magical situation. The artist painted the colorful labyrinth of Sofia in 2021, and after visiting the capital in the summer of 2022, IC4DESIGN created the black and white map of the city, a much more accurate and detailed version, in which verbal messages are woven.

Japanese illustrator Hiro Kamigaki and  IC4DESIGN  have been attracting children and their families since their first book ‘Detective Pierre Solves the Case’, which was published in Japan in 2014. Its international debut was in 2015, followed by ‘Mysteries in the Labyrinth Tower’ and an album of stickers (2017), ‘Treasure of the Sky Castle’ and coloring book (2020), and the video game ‘Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective’ (2021). The books have been translated into 37 languages in over 38 countries and intrigue little sleuths, combining maze solving with charming hand-drawn illustrations.

IC4DESIGN was founded by Hiro Kamigaki in Hiroshima, Japan in 1998. The illustrator team has been selected as one of the 200 best illustrator teams in the world by the jury of American Illustration and Society of Illustrators. The studio has won numerous awards: The ADC Annual Awards, D&AD Pencil, Cannes Lions, London International Awards (2017), Dubai Lynx (2013, 2017), TASCHEN / Illustration Now! (2013). International travelers at Hiroshima Airport are greeted by a colorful IC4DESIGN map, and the 2009 New York Times Magazine redesign is announced with the studio’s cover.

The ‘Sofia’s Labyrinth’ is realized with the partnership and financial support of EUROSPEED. During the exhibition, the National Gallery organizes educational programs for children, which you can follow on its Facebook page and Instagram profile.