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Folk costumes from around the world featured in Art4Diplomacy project

Costumes from the collection of Bulgarian Queen Ioanna shown for the first time in front of an audience

After the undeniable success of the first Art4Diplomacy project, talented Bulgarian artist Petya Ilieva once again presents the richness and beauty of different peoples and cultures. The event this time took place on September 25 at the Vrana Palace in compliance with all Covid-19 measures.

"This time I feature a fashion show of national costumes. The Bulgarian audience can get acquainted with traditional women's and men's clothing from different (mostly exotic) countries from several continents - Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, India, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Mexico, Rwanda, Cameroon, Palestine, Iran and Sudan. The models - students from the National Academy for Film and Theatre, move on the catwalk to the background of authentic music from each represented country. These meetings of the traditions and folklore of the different nations help us to realize the closeness and similarities between people and to appreciate the beauty hidden in diversity. If the previous time I wanted to show that people, ethnicities, religions from different parts of the world are rather similar than different, this time I want to reveal the fascination that these differences hold. That is why we focus on countries whose absolutely authentic clothes and music are less known in Bulgaria," Petya Ilieva explains in an interview for Radio Bulgaria.



Participants in the project are once again the diplomatic missions in Bulgaria, as the event is held with Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as its honorary host. Thanks to him, for the first time part of the personal collection of costumes of his mother Queen Ioanna has been shown to the general public.



"The royal collection will be the participation of the Bulgarian side. These are very special costumes and they will be shown at the fashion show,” Petya Ilieva points out. "They are more than 100 years old and we will try to present costumes from all folklore areas of Bulgaria."

Covid-19 is the reason why the event does not have open access, although this was the original idea, but will be distributed through photos and videos. But it is something that should reach more people, because the beauty and richness of art is perhaps the only thing that does discriminate based on age, gender, race, religion, social status.

"Through what I do, I want to bring information about different countries and cultures. But I also want to deliver pleasure, aesthetic delight and, I hope, a feast for the senses of many people. Here I must express my admiration for the Bulgarian National Radio that it translates and distributes the information on its website in 10 languages. In this way it can reach all continents. And many foreign diplomatic missions were fascinated last year to share the publication for the first Art4Diplomacy project with their countries, in their own language, directly from the BNR website," Petya Ilieva recalls.



A charity exhibition is also planned. Where will the raised funds go?

"During the fashion show, the stage and the garden are decorated with my works - collages of traditional motifs of Bulgaria and the participating countries, as well as paintings," Petya explains. “I display my paintings with flowers and landscapes. The proceeds from their sale and the exotic surprises prepared by the participating countries, as well as the donations that the public voluntarily decides to put in the box prepared for this purpose, will be directed to a hospital to combat Covid-19”.

Radio Bulgaria will publish photos and video footage from the event so be sure to come back to this publication soon!


English version Rossitsa Petcova



Photos: courtesy of Petya Ilieva

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