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India Alla Prima project – forget about yourself

БНР Новини
Photo: Albena Bezovska

About a year ago four Bulgarian artists visited India for the first time. Selma Todorova, Aglika Gaytanikova, Ivan Dodov and Stefan Chuchurliev presented that country in the first edition of the International Watercolor Society India Biennale where the paintings of other nine Bulgarians were shown. The workshop at the foot of the Himalayas will remain their most exciting experience, the four say. They thank for the opportunity to the East – West Indological Foundation, to their host at the Sushma Culture House Dr. Karan Chauhan, to the International Watercolor Society in Bulgaria and to the embassy of the Republic of India. The workshop’s pictures were presented in Varna first and India alla Prima is a guest of the Serdika Gallery downtown Sofia over the entire December. The event comes in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of India's independence in 2017. Art expert Prof. Chavdar Popov tells us more:

“Alla prima is a term used in watercolors techniques mostly , meaning ‘first impression’, ‘first creation’ – i.e. with no repairs and repeats. Alla prima is what’s common between the separate artists in this exhibition, as their works have been created spontaneously and with improvisation, covering their direct and fresh impressions. I see it as something particularly important that self-expression steps back here. No matter their personal features the artists have perceived a relative unification of utterance. This is very positive in this case, as the glory and importance of the subject itself, of nature, architecture and the faces we see come first. There is this thought of Rockwell Kent: ‘Sometimes, while facing nature itself or the theme you recreate, you would like not to express yourself, but to forget about yourself.’ That is exactly the type of attitude that we have here.”


Here is what curator of the exhibition Selma Todorova says:

“I had decided that I would visit India and I said that to Mrs. Boyanova, chair of the East – West Indological Foundation. It was her idea to do something more in India, a true creative process. About two decades ago Dr. Karan Chauhan lectured at Sofia University and long professional fellowship has connected them ever since. He hadn’t visited Bulgaria for a long time, but came here last summer. He liked our work and we received an invitation to be guests at Sushma. We all really wanted to paint and we used any moment we could work.”

“I see this as a dream come true and I had never expected it to happen,” Aglika Gaytanikova says. “It was an extraordinary month. Now I look at the pictures in a calmer manner – I used to be very critical towards my own work back then. I can’t forget the feeling of being between the peaks and the people, their shiny eyes and smiles.”

“India is the land of surprises,” Stefan Chuchurliev is convinced. “One should go there unprepared, expecting everything. India is a challenging, colorful land; its name itself causes an explosion of colors.”


“I still feel the warmth – the first thing they welcomed us with,” Ivan Dodov says. “I had never seen such warm and giving people. The other thing still standing in my mind is the glory and peacefulness of that powerful mountain – the Himalayas. The power that I felt helps me really a lot. I dared to take a look from higher above the place that I stood – and the power of my imagination lifted me up there. My room was on the second floor and I was happy to welcome the sunrise each morning. The energy of the sun, floating in the morning had a really strong impact on me. Trust me, the colors, the mountain were incredible in the mornings – 14 different sunrises. It was a true gift.”

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

Photos: Albena Bezovska

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