Photo exhibition and book tell about challenges and difficulties of Bulgarian emigrants in Argentina

Photo: BGNES

The Bulgarian Community in Argentina has been recently in the focus in one of the cultural spaces in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia– Professor Vasil Gergov Hall at the National Donation Fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria”. In the presence of many guests Bulgaria’s Vice President Iliana Yotova presented the remarkable works of Bulgarians who have spent their entire life in Argentina, yet they have always remained connected with their motherland. The event was held under the auspices of the Bulgarian Vice President.

Iliana Yotova (far right) at the opening of the exhibition

One of those Bulgarians – Stella Sidi is an author of a photo exhibition held under the motto Around the World in 270 Days which awakens the curiosity to the personality and the story of a woman who migrated with her family to Argentina in 1941 when she was only three. The exhibition is exciting, because it tells us about a dramatic overseas journey filled with lots of peril and drama which had a happy end. Stella Sidi graduated from the National School of Arts in Buenos Aires and later became famous across Argentina. Her parents stayed in Buenos Aires. Stella Sidi created in that city, lived with her family, made a career in this wonderful country, Vice President Iliana Yotova said during the opening and added:

Can you imagine the impressions of such a little child and what happened years later when she found her mother’s diary written in French? We can see on some wall panels hand-written pages of her mother’s diary who described the difficulties they faced on their way to Argentina. They went through a series of dangerous situations, tension and real concerns about their life and their safety. We see how such life story finds its reflection in a particular kind of art where photography intertwines with artistic images, with other means of expression, which makes is so expressive and exciting.

According to statistical data, nearly 3,000 Bulgarian citizens currently live in Argentina, However, according to diplomatic sources over 40,000 people define themselves heirs of Bulgarian emigrants who went to this country in the 19th century:

The first Bulgarians reached Argentina in the 19th century. They were among the first settlers of some regions and districts of this huge country. We read in their memoirs that they literally made their way through the jungle to build their houses, find their own livelihood and settle there. Most of them thought they had gone to Argentina temporarily and later they would return to Bulgaria when they earn lots of money.  They thought they would raise their children in Bulgaria and live in their home country. Unfortunately, most of them never saw their motherland again. Others returned to Bulgaria, but after a short stay departed to Argentina again.

Last year during the meeting with Ruzhka Nikolova from Argentina, who won the title Bulgarian Woman of 2016, Vice President Yotova heard the name of Doctor Jorge Michoff for the first time. At the end of his career the doctor wrote a book with fascinating short stories containing philosophical reflections, which was also presented by Vice President Iliana Yotova at the photo exhibition:

His biography, memoirs and philosophy is collected in one book. It was not named Doctor accidentally, because it is about Jorge Michoff (Georgi Michov) who was born in the Bulgarian town of Borovan in 1929. Although he faced many difficulties he eventually reached Buenos Aires and worked as a general practitioner through his whole life there. The plots of his stories written in this book are very interesting. The preface written together with Ruzhka Nikolova tells the story of the Bulgarian emigration in Argentina in the 19th century. I would like to thank the State Agency for the Bulgarian Abroad, which despite having limited financing, replied immediately that this book should be published and it happened in several months only.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: BTA and BGNES

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