Hello, dear Baba-supporters!
How have your lives been during the past few months? Hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, wherever throughout the world you and they happened to be.
We had many difficulties realizing any of our initiatives in villages or other small settlements around Bulgaria. Since the human intergenerational contact seemed as the biggest danger of the spread of the virus, we had the huge responsability to try limit it, but still be open to answer the needs of the rural communities and the elderly we've been working with. We told you about this journey and its difficulties in the previous report.
However, we had planned to implement our first ever international artistic residency in a Bulgarian village for the summer. It had to be postoponed for the 23rd of August and again because of safety measures.
Radical Imagination Residency in Deleyna village (Vidin)
What are we searching for through this residency and what issues does it outline?
During 3 weeks in Deleyna, 7 Bulgarian and 4 foreign artists (through online participation) were searching for a working formula for a contemporary living village, nurtured by an access to culture and art. They were trying to “rehabilitate the muscle of public imagination, which nowadays is not able to imagine the village in a modern way," as Yanina Taneva from Ideas Factory summarizes it.
“We cannot substitute for public policy, which, sadly, is absent - adds Yanina Taneva. - The trends in the villages are irreversible and this is clear from well known national strategy, written in 2007. Therefore, in order to stop or at least slow down the ones that still can be reversed, lots of common effort is needed. In the villages, there are several main problems: lack of democracy, because people cannot vote for their mayor, in case there are less than 250 people in the village; lack of public health services, no access to education or culture. We believe that education and culture are the foundation that is needed for change. And when the traditional Bulgarian village comes together with the young people from the city, who are carrying a different type of knowledge and culture with them, new solutions and new ways can be born.
The Radical Imagination Residency’s main mission was to rake over the public imagination and the imagination of the selected artists on how a contemporary Bulgarian village might flourish in the future - a village with a lively community, rich intergenerational connections and an active access to culture, art and education.
The final community event, celebrating the end of the residency, was an swer to this search and a massive get-together, showing the artistic results of the participants. It enlivened for a day the abandoned school building in Deleyna village.
The event consisted of photo and ethnographic objects exhibition, cyanotypical exhibition with imagery from local natural elements, audio box with the emotional soundscape of the village, short portrait documentaries, poetry and a performance in the local cultural hub (chitalishte).
The main discovery for the village of Deleyna, where the residency has been happening, is that this vision for a lively village is unavoidably related to the active access to education on a local level. The lively school, where all the exhibitions were happening, became the epitome of the liveliness of the village itself.
Be well and
let's stay in touch,
Yoana and the Ideas Factory team