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Nia Pushkarova

I was born in Sofia and then moved to study art in Trojan college of art and ceramics after grade 8th as I wasn’t accepted in National Art Gymnasium after grade 7th. The competition was fierce and as I recall from my frail childlike memories and little to none life experience, it was a doomed effort to try and get in the roll of competitors who came from family background of being artists or high-level state administrators, the so-called echelons. We were so used to have those ones benefiting through the “ties” as we called it, during the communism that it was like predestined faith waiting for me along with the first disappointment from raised hopes and expectations. Nevertheless, I did study in art gymnasium hence I was drawing and painting all my life, and its true I did not choose to study ceramics and in that particular small town away form Sofia my parents and friends – but that was the only alternative at that time.

I graduated with maximum score on drawing exam and was almost certain I was going to be accepted in the National Academy of Arts, but destiny had different plans for me. I didn’t get accepted 2 years in a roll and then was when the revolution happened in 1989 and the fall of Berlin wall and my father amongst other professionals involved into the democratic party. Soon after he became Minister of Economics in the first as we know it democratic elections, what followed was that I got accepted in the Academy of Arts but simultaneously I got accepted in Art Department of University of Reading, UK as well. So, I went!

The culture shock and adjustments I had to do in order to fast forward learning process of the past 45 years of Western European history of arts, took place in the suburban area of the industrial city of Reading from 1991 to 1995.

I did not understand a lot at the beginning, not the language, not the culture not what my professors were trying to tell me, until a moment when I did. And then was the prophetic moment of truth that I realized I can work also as mediator between the two worlds I knew, once I was accepted by the guardians of culture of Great Britain and let to understand the mighty language of Shakespeare. I wasn’t studying painting or drawing, there was no traditional art education as I knew it. It was the rise of conceptualism and Damian Hirst and YBA was about to change the course of modern art history. So, I adapted and started making videos and installations as well as drawings and paintings. I even got awarded by the Art Department Head at the time with Kodak award for outstanding achievements upon my graduation.

Then I got back to Sofia, full of hopes and dreams………………………………………………………!

It wasn’t easy, I tell ya! To find people that actually stayed and were worth spending time with! To make sly maneuvers from the vast gap of what I’ve just learned and that same reason to mediated between the two worlds, again! No, it wasn’t easy!

So, after a few futile efforts to show some of my ideas and do art as well as find a way to survive on my own it took time, but I got strength and faith enough to organize something that was not going to censure me and I will also present my art along with give opportunity for other people to get to exhibit and be seen in the society. I initiated the Water tower art fest in 2006 until 2016!

Now I am still being neglected by the circles, but I am not so bothered as I was when I first came back to Bulgaria.

To be continued!

©Nia Pushkarova

Director of NGO-IME:
Co-founder of Bulgarian Festival Association
EFFE award of European Festival Label year 2015-16
1991-1995 МА, BA in Fine arts, Reading University, UK,
1985-1989 Trojan Collage of Arts, specializing ceramics
BA Honors in Fine Arts
ICCM, Salzburg, Austria – art management diploma
Teaching qualification in Fine Arts and Ceramics
Kodak Award 1995, UK

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Visual artist (painting, video installation, photography, art lecturing, performance). Chairwoman of NGO-IME since 2004. Founder, curator and organizer of Water Tower Art Fest (EFFE award of European Festival Label year 2015-16) 2006-2019. Co founder of Bulgarian Festival Association

Exhibitions, Projects, Residencies etc.

2023- Participation at exhibition “Urban witches, not bitches” @Neurotitan, Berlin with curator Viviana Druga

2023- Performance in collaboration with Voin De Voin – “Ageless” @Feminale performance festival, Chiang Mai with curator Yeon Jeong

2023 –Prayoon Dan Sai learning center residency, Thailand

2023 – “Music Art Tabor – Experimenting with new spaces to open the boundaries between professional artists and amateurs through a synthesis of the arts and interpretations of traditional themes related to Roma culture” organizer on behalf of IME Association

2023 – Participation in Immersive Performance Festival – New York Live Art Tour 2023 curated by Qing Cai

2023 – Participation and organization of an international project creative exchange seminar and exhibition “Feministas Futuristicas- Feminism & art practice an international exchange” Sofia

2022 – Organizer “Water Tower Art Residence – Burgas , Atanasovki Salt Lakes, Veliko Tarnovo

2022 – Solo exhibition in “Sofia House” – Ariadne’s Dreams

2022 – Participation w/performance at Overlapping Kasel, Germany

2022 – Performance at “Sofia Underground”

2022 – Assistant Production Designer, Film production Millenium Media, “Tin Soldier” – prep,

2021 – Organizer of Water tower art residency#5 – Decentralized edition Varna

2021 – June solo show @PortA Sofia – “I the normal one!”

2020 – Participation at Partout performance festival Basel, Switzerland organized by Panch

2020 – Organizer of WTAR #4 artist residency C(r)eative mode

2019 – Participating at IMAF multimedia performance festival Novi Sad, Serbia

2019 — Organizing Water tower art residency #3

2019 – Solo exhibition at Gallery Serdika –“Summer”2019, photo and pastel portrait drawings

2019 – Participation at Week of contemporary arts in Plovdiv 2019 -installation

2019 – Participation at “White Rabbit fest” Sofia – performance

2019 – Organizing AIM meetings Plovdiv 2019 part of EU Capital of Culture program

2019 – Participation at Biennale Internazionale Donna Trieste, Italy

2019 – Participation in group ER collective performance “In search of G-spot” at Sofia Underground

2019 – Artists at Residency at Ne-Na arts space, Chiang Mai, Thailand

2019 – Performance participation at Low Fat Art Fest, Bangkok, Thailand

2018 – Solo show “Art with working hours” dedicated to women raised in socialism at Gallery Geshov, Sofia

2018 – A juror of 21st International show at “Woman made gallery”, Chicago

2018 – Curator of Water tower art residency – Social development through creative practice

2017 – Participation at Bulgarian Pavilion “Distant Relatives” at Nakanojo Biennale 2017, Japan – video performance, curation

2017 – Organizing Water tower art residency 2017 – participation with performance – “Predisposition limited by circumstance” at old train Depot Poduene

2017 – Participation at “Art Now Live tour” 2017 – Athens and Venice- performance “Bulgarian Pavilion” at Venice biennale

2016 – Participation at EFFE Festival academy, Atelier for young festival managers, Chiang Mai

2016 – Participation at PARABIOSIS 3, “Communication and co-existence”, Chongqing, China

2016 – Participation at Mexico, Coahuila “RAYA EN EL AGUA” photo installation

2016 –  ECVP vol 5 – Crisis & Utopia – participation at video project

2016 – Participating at Art Walk Kimolos, Greece

2016 – Wroclaw – Aim meeting participation exhibition

2016 – “Cool is the rule- reinvent oneself” – Schillerpalais, Berlin, Germany, collaborative project with Cathrine Constanse Gjelsnes/Norway

2015 – Solo exhibition at Gallery Arosita, Sofia

2015 – Participation at Nakanojo Biennale, Japan

2015 – Mallorca, Spain exhibition at Casal de Cultura Can Gelabert of Binissalem, photo and paintings “13:15 Laxenberg”

2015 – Participation at Setup Art Fair, Bologna – “Arte Contemporanea” presented by gallery Rieti

2014 – Participation at Lichtenberg Studios Berlin artist residency

2013 – October – organizer and artist participant at show in London UK, Bulgarian cultural center and Standpoint gallery – “The Bulgarians are coming” WTAF in UK

2013 – Participation at Façade fest Plovdiv

2013 – Participation at Larroque art fest,

France – video installation: “The expulsion of Adam and Eve”

2013 – April “Trans local meeting” Palma de Mallorca, Spain – presentation of activities at Miro Foundation and exhibition at Casal de Cultura Can Gelabert of Binissalem

2013 – Workshop and presentation of activities and art work at Ostrava school of Art, Czech Republic

2013 – March – “Hospital for lovers” – installation – participation at Gallery Raiko Alexiev, Sofia, curator Dimitur Grozdanov

2013 – Participation at Haifa, Israel – festival “Lower Haifa, Upper Haifa” with video installation

2012 – Participation at Belgrade art fair as artist and organizer of Water tower art fest

2012 – August “Feminine expression” – group exhibition at SAMCA Museum of Contemporary art Sofia – oil paintings and video installation

2012 – August – Participation at plain air Tryavna – “Art Symposium Forma” with exhibition at gallery “Fund -13 century Bulgaria”

2011 – Participation with video installation at Drap Art Barcelona FAD, and presenting the Water tower art fest as a curator

2011 – May, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Incart festival of contemporary art – participation with video installation “Door”

2011 – March, April, City Gallery Lovech and Vidin exhibition “Man and Woman” – paintings together with Cristian Rieloff

2011- February, Supermarket art fair 2011 – participation with Cristian Rieloff in the installation “The Application”, and presenting Water tower art fest

2010 – Gallery IME, Sofia– exhibition “Man and Woman” – paintings together with Cristian Rieloff

2010 – April – “Art locomotion” – exhibition participation at Museum of Boris Hristov, Sofia, oil paintings

2010 – March – Artist residency at “Art in motion” residency, Coomba, Australia, supported by National Fund of Culture – mobility fund

2010 – February – attending “Supermarket 2010 meetings” – Stockholm, Sweden, granted a travel grant from “Step Beyond”, presenting Water tower project

2010- January – ID: I “Friends”– Exhibit in Stockholm – participation with video installation

2009 – Solo exhibition – oil paintings and drawings at Restaurant “The Clock” – Sofia

2009 – 1st Istanbul meeting, part of the Istanbul Biennale 2009 – presenting artistic initiatives

2009 – “Nomad village” Pavlikeni – participation with photo–developing life performance

2008- “Urban Guardian Angels”- Water tower, street fest– video installations and a citizen initiative with Municipality of Lozenetz Sofia – organizer from behalf of NGO IME

2007- “Nia: Feral”- Life Performance at Reading University, UK –- video and life performance

2007 – “Melting the ice” – performance – project in Haparanda, Sweden,“Step Beyond” mobility grant.

2007 – Project “Clean” Poduene, a citizen initiative and partners: “Private clinic Kantchelov”;, “Kino “Haide” group, grant of Municipality of Sofia to NGO –IME

2006 – “Longing for love” – exhibition by Nia Pushkarova and Yan Pushkarov- oil paintings, photography and music, part of a project “Base Dating”, with partners “Astro – prism” from Newcastle, UK, Pro–Helvetia grant.

2005- August- Participation at ICCM, Salzburg, Austria – Culture management course & degree

2005- July – Participation at Prague International Contemporary Art Biennale-IBCC with photo project “Pentimento”, with curator Vessela Radoeva

2004 – Participation at “ABC” –cultural management course project- Borovetz – exhibition SGHG-Sofia December 2004

2003 – Poland “Galeria Wschodnia”, Lodz, “Pentimento”- photo installation

2003 – Solo show at “Beyond the Alley on the Attic” Project- “Pentimento” – photography and oil paintings, sponsored by- Billboard print and HP Sofia

2002 – Solo-exhibition, London, UK, “Gallery Sophia”, oil paintings and photography.

2001-  Solo exhibition- oil paintings at Sheraton Hotel, Sofia.

1999 – One woman show at the “XXL” Gallery, Sofia, Photographs and oil paintings.

1999 – 23 April – Vision, slide projection, photo-billboards (2x3m) and projection of computer generated images

1998 – Vision (VJ) – slide projection at the concert of “Band of Mad Women”, Sofia.

1997 – participation at art-plainer Trojan, Life-Art performance.

1997 – Photo – exhibition at Jazz Club” St. George”, Sofia dedicated after Student protests February’97.

1997 – Debut exhibition “New Names” site specific installation, Museum of Modern Art, Sofia

1995 – Degree show, Reading University, UK- video and photo installation.

1994 – Non-degree show at Reading University, UK, oil paintings.

1994 – “Art in Reading” – installation with slides and paintings

1988 – “10x10x10”, Exhibition organized by Art in Action, Sofia University.