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Artist Venzislav Zankov asks what has happened to people’s value system

БНР Новини
Photo: Veneta Pavlova

Until June 5th one can see the exhibition of sculptor and artist Ventsislav Zankov entitled “The Last Citizens of Calais.” It is on display in the third unfinished building of the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. The exhibition brings us back to a tragic chapter of history when in the middle of the 14th century the army of Edward III besieged Calais.  In order to save the citizens, the rulers of the city surrender the keys to the city gates. Les Bourgeois de Calais is a famous sculpture by Auguste Rodin. In the recent years Calais has become a city of refugees and migrants whose aim is reaching Great Britain.

СнимкаWe are part of a number of crises – financial, moral and a refugee one, Ventsislav Zankov says and adds:

"We live in a permanent crisis. What has been happening to our value system? Until recently one could often hear the expression ‘citizens of the world.’ At one point it turned out that we were neither citizens of the world, nor the world was united. On the other hand we do not have defenses in our civilization model. We do not have an answer to current processes and we do not know how to behave or what our moral and civic duties are. We have been betrayed from inside,” he says and adds:

"Democracy focuses on counting numbers rather than on human beings. When people vote, it is just numbers that are reported. There is no quality, just quantity. Speech has been destroyed in all of the political discourse that has been going on.”


The artist has been inspired by the popular sculpture of Rodin "The Burghers of Calais." According to him, the moral horizon nowadays seems to be the individual salvation but maybe this way we cease being citizens. On the other hand the Burghers of Calais were thinking about the community.

"Fortress Europe has been somehow betrayed from inside or maybe now the battle is for the spirit. The answer is not clear because we think this is our civilizational spirit but actually it has long ago been defeated by consumerism and commercialism,” the sculptor says.


In his works one ca see pain, despair, and extreme conditions. The sculptures are characterized by alienation, loneliness, suffering. For his works the artist used products of organic chemistry - polyurethane and polyester.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Veneta Pavlova

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