An expression of the pursuit of love and flight of thought, art touches the soul of each and every one of us, however different we may be, because it comes from the heart. It is through art that children with disabilities find a way to express themselves in a better world where the sense of beauty is all that matters.
The only thing children with artistic talent need are conditions enabling them to unfold this talent. That is precisely the idea behind the initiative “Art with a cause” – to help those “special” Bulgarian children and to turn their lives into a thrilling adventure. The campaign has the support of prominent Bulgarian painters, public figures and writers, and the revenues from the cultural events they take part in bring the smiles back to the faces of the “different” children.
“Over the past three years we have donated about 97,000 Leva for the medical treatment of 15 children,” says musician Zina Lyubenova, organizer of the events. “Twice a year, in July and in December, we organize, together with our partners from “Sports with a cause”, joint charity events at which we sell works from the exhibitions. The idea is to support the children, but also to encourage society to show solidarity. Because if today we have no such problem, if it is not our problem, tomorrow that may well change.
We want to cultivate empathy. Project Lab was created with the idea of providing space for art free of charge, art that can reach out to a wider range of people.”
One of the charity causes is to raise money for 11-year old Ellya who was born without arms or legs. In spite of her disability she draws, tries to write and regularly attends school. Thanks to the initiative “Art with a cause”, joined by famous artists like Vera Peneva, Dilly Bozadzhieva, Nikolay Yakimov and Yovo Yovchev, Ellya stands a good chance of walking with the help of special implants. The implants cost 80,000 euro, a large part of this sum has so far been raised, and more fundraising events will be organized.
Boryana Ivanova-Boko, who recently presented her first exhibition of paintings made out of fabric, is also part of Project Lab and the “Art with a cause” campaigns. Her fabric-paintings are striking in colours and shapes, but also in their unorthodox style:
“I am very shy and I didn’t even want to put them on display, but friends encouraged me to do so. When I started to look for an exhibition hall I met Zina, and she really is a wonderful person. The idea to get involved in the cause was impulsive because I myself have a child with a form of autism. That is why this exhibition aims to support autistic children because they are amazing, it is just that they have a different view of the world, they are more sensitive but just as normal as we all are. With this exhibition I want to show parents that they can help themselves financially – by being creative or by discovering some field where their strength lies. The current exposition is a dream come true, I can’t wait to see people’s reactions.”
Recognition by the public was not late in coming, and not just because of the cause but also because of the message of a mother’s love that Boryana’s paintings convey. A message that prompted many to buy works by the young artist.
“Each one of us can donate of our own money but that is not our idea. What we are after is to convey a message of solidarity. To be part of a community that in some way shapes our society. Essentially, art is elitist but it educates and cultivates the public, it is capable of making people kinder, more responsive and more empathic.”