Gabrovtsi viewed from Switzerland


The week spent at ART – NATURE 2014 Symposium was one of my best experiences this summer. Viewed from Switzerland, a Bulgarian village hidden among dense forests and along a wild river was a curious place, without clear outlines. But still it surpassed all my expectations. Where the dominating nature met the work of the artists, I found out how a common goal can gather people from various countries.
I’m not prone to sentimentality. I’ve been travelling around Eastern Europe as journalist for the last twenty years. But on the last night when I had to say goodbye to the organizers, the artists and the assistants, with whom every night we had fun, dinner and discussions, I had to subdue a tear in my eye. The art was important, it was a game which was tuning our thoughts and visibly enriched the village. Together with doing their own works, the artists took part in the heavy task of clearing the river bed, devastated by a flooding in June 2014, which had destroyed not only the last year’s art works, but also whole trees and the “promenade” along the river. Like in a collective game, the Bulgarians, the three South Koreans, the German, the Pole, the Israeli, the Ukrainian and the Swiss created one common work, along with their individual ones.
I stayed at Milena Gradinarova’s house. Endlessly energetic, she took care not only for the wellbeing of the artists, but also for the renovation of the local church. With Hans-Joachim Uth, sculptor and environment protection professor, I discussed ecology problems, with Elena Dimitrova I even managed to talk about Bulgarian literature. Politics got involved more than we asked for – Vasyl Tatarskyy had to return to the troubled Ukraine, Daniel Manheim – to Israel. Weeks after that Daniel’s motto still echoed in my head: “We must help each other”. The serenity of the village and the good organization made it possible to concentrate on the essentials.

Erika Achermann, Swiss journalist