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Blog - Paola Minekov, Artist in London, Paintings and Exhibitions
11 Oct 2013


Private View on Friday 11 October, 2013 at 7pm
Exhibition Dates: 11-19 October 2013,
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 11:00 – 19:30, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 – 16:00
Sofia Gallery, BCI London, Bulgarian Embassy
188 Queen's Gate Kensington London SW7 5HL, Phone: +44 (0) 207 591 0179

Exhibition Catalogue: iBooks for iPad and PDF

The exhibition, Home: Contemporary Female Masters, portrays women's experience of choosing to migrate and build a home in a foreign country. This relatively new social phenomenon is examined in depth by seven mid career international women artists with strong links to Europe, the Middle East, America and Africa. They explore their experience of establishing themselves and building the elements of what they perceive as 'home' wherever they are in the world.

Following my exhibition Power and Passion last year, the Bulgarian Cultural Institute (BCI) in London invited me to return for a solo show this October.

While this was an attractive proposition, I felt it was also a great opportunity to curate a group exhibition of international women artists with links to the UK, and with a theme which is very close to my heart - Home. The Director of BCI, Svetla Dionissieva, was extremely supportive of the idea and so Home: Contemporary Female Masters was born.

But why did I, an artist with an offer of a solo exhibition at a respected government institution, decide to put my curatorial hat on instead and share the accolades with a number of other artists?

On a personal level, I felt that a group exhibition on the theme of home and migration would provide multifaceted viewpoints and cultural references and therefore a much more powerful experience to the viewer than a similarly themed solo show. To read more about my personal reasons of picking the theme of HOME, check out the Exhibition Concept and my Intro.

On a practical level, my experience working in multimedia design had taught me the great value of being able to understand first hand the tasks of every team member involved in a project. And bringing an engaging exhibition to life requires a fairly large team effort at the best of times. In the case of art exhibitions this would be, of course the artists who will show their work, the gallery which will host the exhibition, the people who provide the marketing and PR support, the art critics, who will find the right language to communicate the ideas and background of the show to the public and last but certainly not least, the curator. In fact, the curator is not only the person who will decide where a particular artwork is hung, he or she is often the person behind the initial idea. Without the curator, many exhibitions simply wouldn't be.

An independent curator is someone who will create the exhibition concept, view countless portfolios to select the artists with the most appropriate work for this specific idea, find and secure a suitable gallery space to host the show and organise many of the other practical details. And then they will also physically curate the show.

For me curating this exhibition means acquiring an in depth knowledge of how the curator works. I've learnt about the countless details that need coordinating, the selection process and the unexpected problems (one of the artists whose work I love sadly had to drop out fairly late in the process due to personal circumstances and the fact that I had to decide, and it was a hard decision, not to wait and see if she can make it in the end but plan ahead without her), communicating with the venue and artists, writing concise texts (not my favourite way to kill time), working on a press release - and I'm so lucky to have the support of Claire Cohen from Inspire PR, whom I also count among my collectors! Finding the right person to open the show. The list goes on.

All in all, I feel this experience will help me hugely in the future, when I'll take part as an artist in exhibitions curated by other people. I will know how it feels to be in their shoes.

Confirmed Artists

Caroline UnderwoodDiana AliMalika SqalliMinna GeorgeTamar Lev-On , Tina Mammoser and myself.

19 Aug 2013

A Slideshow: Twiggie is the size of a baby elephant, meaning ever so slightly too large to fit through my front door. So I was offered to paint her in intu's head office in London (They've got bigger doors in big buildings).

Everyone was keen to see her methamorphosis from white to her brigh, colourful and happy self so she (and I) were about to spend a substential parts of our lives for the next 1 month in the newly renovated cantine area. This presented me with a bit of a challenge in terms of finding materials that are a 100% non toxic and suitable for use in a restaurant (Thank you Liquitex for releasing your new water based acrylic spray paint right on time!!), and of course, I had to also make sure to keep the place clean and organised... when spray painitng... which believe it or not turned out surprisingly well. 

So check out the slideshow below to join me on my journey painting Twiggie. {igallery id=1562|cid=1|pid=1|type=category|children=0|addlinks=0|tags=|limit=0}

01 Aug 2013

A few months ago I was asked to create an elephant for intu, the sponsors of The Elephant Parade National Tour in the UK. As you can imagine, I was thrilled!

Intu staff and their children had submitted design ideas in a competition, which I was asked to judge, along with Mike Spits, founder of the Elephant Parade, Harriet Powell from Elephant Communications, the awesome PR agency which represents the Elephant Parade in the UK and a number of representatives from intu itselft. 

Twiggi, Elephant Parade 2013, Design Selection, with Mike Spits, Paola Minekov, Harriet Powell

Bright, sunny, orange and bold,Twiggie (the design on the right) was an immediate favourite with everyone. I felt it worked great on its own but also having looked at the rest of the of elephants in the tour (there were no other orange designs this year) I felt it would add a significant splash of colour to the herd.

We had a lot of nice submissions, some very graphic and illustrative and some more conceptual, but I wanted a combination of the two and for me Twiggie really pulled that off.

intu birdI immediately fell in love with the intu bird, even before I saw the submissions I already knew I really wanted to incorporate it in the elephant design. A bird symbolises so much - freedom, flight, the awakening of nature, and of course bringing a message, and I think this is exactly what the Elephant Parade is all about, bringing us the message of the Asian elephants - these magnificent endangered animals, who need our love and support.

I think any project which promotes creativity is a worthy one, and involving intu staff is a great way of getting everyone really excited about the Elephant Parade. It's great to involve their children too. We actually chose a second design - Rainbow - from the children's submissions to be developed for one of the smaller elephants.

10 Jul 2013

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I got together with a group of IOE students to start working on the mosaic for the first time on a lovely spring afternoon. From the start I wanted this to be their mural. I wanted an artwork which expresses their ideas, interests and the mood in their Student's Union. When I was a student in the Netherlands, all we had was a canteen with somewhat tasteless fast food and bad coffee. I can't help compare this to all the IOE Student's Union has to offer. It organises a variety of events, including life music and poetry, and offers it's students classes in salsa, pilates, yoga and swing. So yes, music is a big theme and quickly became central to the piece. The other recurring themes were being in London, IOE being a place of transition and growth, and IOESU values like Equality, Peace, Freedom and Justice. So I integrated a cityscape and a network of flowing roads which run through the final design. The notes are from Imagine.

The picture below is the version I created based on the sketches of the students. 

ioe students union mosaic mural project

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