The capital of Bulgaria – Sofia – is full of an artistic atmosphere this summer. Wandering in the lush green public gardens of the city, you will easily encounter art.
At the Sofia City Garden and at the Crystal Garden you find two different exhibitions.
Exhibition in the City Garden | Madam Architect
You should definitely have seen the exhibition Madam Architect in the City Garden last July.
Madam Architect traced the work of female architects in Bulgaria and Germany. This exhibition presented twenty wonderful portraits of women who have contributed to architecture in both countries throughout the twentieth century. Like many other professional spheres, in architecture, women had to fight their way in a hostile environment to prove their talent and earn the right to an education and to a professional career.
Madam Architect was presented in Sofia by the Goethe-Institut, Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Modernist Architecture foundation.
The first section focused on German female architects and started the narrative by Emilie Winkelmann, the first freelance architect in Germany that ran an independent architecture practice in 1907. Many of the buildings designed by her, most of which were adapted to the individual needs of the residents, are now under historic preservation.
The timeline of this part of the German section spans German history since 1900, the Kaiserreich, the interwar years, the Third Reich, as well as the division of Germany and its reunification in the 21st century.
The Bulgarian section, on the other hand, only includes the years between the two world wars, and it is from this period that women were allowed into the conservative male sphere of architecture. Women in the construction industry faced a particularly unfriendly environment, which made it difficult for them to demonstrate their skills and earn access to educational opportunities and professional positions.
This exhibition explores the liberation movements of the 20th century, focusing on gender politics in particular. By breaking into traditionally male-dominated professions, getting involved in politics, and experimenting with new gender roles, women entered into modernism in which class, gender, knowledge struggles, senselessness, and alienation are all part of the conversation.
A focus of the exhibition is the past and present of women architects, their achievements in architecture, their lives, and their struggle to survive. A wide range of archival materials is displayed in the exhibition, including portrait photographs, hand-drawn projects, floor plans, sketches, and decorative drawings. By putting faces to names and sharing their experiences, these women in architecture are no longer anonymous and can voice their ideas.
The world’s female population is approximately 50%, and as equal stakeholders, their voices must be heard and encouraged. In this context, by highlighting the experiences and pursuits of these remarkable female architects, it is not only motivating other women to explore their own roles but also shedding more light on the present difficulties of gender equality in the workplace. Such a review of the past is also a good tool to better understand the present and future. Does the situation still exist? Why does this still happen? What should we do to voice and fight? How can we make them visible? Maybe these are the questions we should ask.
Exhibition in the Crystal Garden | The Beauty of Croatia
A photography exhibition opened at the Crystal Garden on a fine Monday afternoon, July 11. Presenting 26 amazing artworks by Croatia photographer Marko Vrdoljak, who has worked for many years on promoting the beauty of Croatia to the world.
The beauty of Croatia exhibition is one of the activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of establishing bilateral diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Croatia. With 26 images from around Croatia, the exhibition narrates a story of world-famous places and lesser-known locations. Providing a glimpse into the culture, history, and natural heritage of a relatively small country.
Experiencing some tough times and restrictions during the pandemic, these exhibitions also give fresh energy to the communities and inspiration for people enjoying their summertime.