The Beauty We Share

A process of mutual acknowledging and co-creation, 2018-2019

Exhibited: FLUCA Austrian Cultural Pavilion, September 2019
SKLAD Plovdiv European Capital of Culture, November 2019

“The Beauty We Share” – a unique exhibition of a series of art-books and objects created collaboratively between families in Stolipinovo, Artist Hannah Rose (UK/BG) and Social Anthropologist Nikola Venkov (BG).

The works displayed reflect years of co-creating a space of dialogue, exchange and imagination.  Members of four families worked in collaboration with the Artist Hannah Rose and Social Anthropologist Nikola Venkov in the most deprived area of Stolipinovo. They created artworks, shared skills, mentored and most importantly, listened to one another. The resulting exhibition effortlessly unveils artistry, resilience, and beauty built by people in Stolipinovo despite the challenges they face. The overarching theme of Beauty emerged naturally, as did the stories of encounter which tie together the whole exhibition. 

The Beauty We Share showcases the results of the process, in the form of handmade art-books and collaborative illustrations printed on silk. The books guide the audience through different levels of encounter: from the surface to the more hidden. Moving from locally specific language, graffiti, tattoos, to a highly developed sense of Beauty and design innovation. The work brings together a polyphonic compilation of eloquent local wisdoms, quotes, advice, discussions and descriptions of encounter all achieved by a process of constant consultation, collaboration and dialogue within the group.

Families in Stolipinovo have become artists, mentors and collaborators. They brought many diverse skills and experience to the project. From 6 to 60 years old, each partner took the project forward. However, most of the people who welcomed us in their homes so warmly have expressed a desire to remain anonymous, out of fear and the insecurity in which they live. They lack access to basic amenities such as running water, sewage, healthcare or waste collection. This precarious living situation makes anyone stepping into the public eye fall prey to police violence, political intimidation, journalistic misrepresentations and blackmail.

The process of ‘The Beauty We Share’ was constant dialogue and exchange: in the end every actor has co-authored the final artworks you see in the exhibition.

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The exhibitions “The Beauty We Share” took place with the financial assitance of the Bulgarian National Cultural Fund and the support of Plovdiv 2019 : European Capital of Culture.