Monday, 04 November 2019 00:53

Unforgettable Emotions at the Anniversary of We Hear You

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The specialized website We Hear You marked its 10th anniversary with a joint exhibition of deaf artists held at the spacious hall of Contrast Gallery. It was an unforgettable event with so many guests, beautiful words, exquisite artworks, sincere love and plenty of light. Every pretty fairytale needs a proper telling from its very start. This is why today I’m taking you on a detailed journey throughout the event with this piece of writing. This is for all the people who were unable to attend the anniversary personally. Enjoy! 


 

A sensation of late autumn, mild and cozy, is present in the air. The weather is unusually warm for a November afternoon. Contrast Gallery is seemingly filled with sunshine. The properly arranged canvas was shining on the walls. Each of them is so unlike the other in terms of technique and message, that the name of the Gallery perfectly suits the atmosphere, but is the right place to put them together into a joint exhibition. The artworks do match the Gallery, whose managers agreed to host the event free of charge. The exhibition could be seen there from 2nd to 4th of November. 24 paintings filled with spirit, beauty, mysticism and colors. Each of them comes from the world of Silence, where there are other rules. They are here to show us that art knows no differences.

The light is playing by the edge of the sparkling glasses filled with wine. The catering offered by Nova Catering is served in an exquisite manner. The company even added sugar flower decorations to the dishes to enhance the flavors of the desserts, provided for the anniversary by I want More Confectionery. The delicious petit fours were garnished with the images of the icons on the website made of fondant icing. There was also a magnificent surprise gifted by Maria Tchoparova – a huge bread with a greeting for the Anniversary on its top.  Black Pearl Catering served the guests at the event a few kinds of exquisitely arranged salty snack bites.

The Sun is setting and it’s warm enough for people to start slowly gathering inside the gallery. Team ‘We Hear You’, the artists and their loved ones, partners, friends and media are there. It’s such a pleasure to see familiar faces expressing so much joy, pure sympathy, love and goodness! Oh, my God, we also got so many living flowers – tiny pots of kindness to remind us of the ever-lasting friendship that got us together for the sake of deaf people’s matters and well beyond! Hugs are always the shape of a heart!

My smile is getting wider as proffessor Minka Zlateva (my thesis supervisor) is approaching me. She’s the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication and, much to my joy, is there to surprise me with a letter of recommendation she’d written in favor of my application for membership at the Union of Bulgarian Journalists (UBJ). We also have associate professor Orlin Spasov and Nikoleta Daskalova of Media Democracy Foundation as our guests. Ivo Gotchev, vocal voice of Big Mama Scandal rock band is present at the event. So is proffessor Anna Boyadzhieva of the National Academy of Arts, Sofia. You can also spot Nikolay Tabakov, the master of the magic lamps from Dupnitza. So many more familiar faces I see gathered inside! The space at the gallery is now crowded with people. I get numerous congratulations, compliments and smiles that create a heartfelt atmosphere. These precious moments have been captured in detailed shots by photographer Antonio Hadzhihristov.

16:30. It’s time for the ceremony to start. The people in the hall are waiting in silence to see the glowing anniversary logo of We Hear You on the projected multimedia screen. The crowd is excited to witness the words of appreciation spoken by Monika Tosheva, artistic manager of Contrast Gallery who briefly introduced the occasion. The lovely introduction and the upcoming ceremony were translated into Bulgarian Sign Language by professional sign language interpreters Kamelia Angelova and Silvia Marinova.

The celebration started with a presentation of the website We Hear You. The guests found out the Site started as a blog platform to share my personal experience and in time, it grew up to become the place for people from the world of Silence, their loved ones and the wider public to find useful information on matters of the deaf as you know it. Nowadays, the Site is no place for aggression since it serves as the bridge between two worlds. This evening’s event at the Gallery allowed both people with hearing impairments and people with natural hearing to be around each other and celebrate the Site’s Anniversary together. Hence, We Hear You fulfilled its mission offline and brought this bridge of friendship into the real world.

The whole content of the Site, including its outlook, is brought to you thanks to the effort of a team of volunteers working together to improve the layout, the English version, the range of topics published and organize a number of meaningful events in the future. Zdravko Denev, Silvia Aladjova, Ani Yovcheva, Maria Mihailova, Mihail Mihov, Nadia Ivanova – each one of the team members was presented to the public with their features and was granted a Certificate of Appreciation for their work on ‘We Hear You’. They were also given small gifts, brought about by Gappa Handmade.

The guests could catch a glimpse of the interviews published on the Site throughout the years while looking at the screen. They learned the stories behind the initial interviews, they saw the enormous variety of topics and matters covered in approximately 380 articles and 20 sections of We Hear You throughout its 10 years of existence. The Arts Section was specifically shown to introduce the guests to the artists from the world of Silence, whose lives and works had been covered by a number of articles on the Site. The talented artists themselves were present at this evening’s event to mark the First Joint Exhibition of Deaf Artists. Their artworks were presented on screen and everybody could see the real pieces if they looked around the Gallery. Each artist was presented individually as follows: Vanya Petkova, Denislav Todorov, Liyudmila Garkova, Mirella Ventzislavova, Monika Voykova, Niya Yakimova, Radoslav Genev and Stella Staeva. They also expressed their congratulations on the Site and got Certificates of Appreciation for their contribution to We Hear You.

Certificates of Appreciation were also granted to the partners of the Site. Zornitza Vassileva and Lavren Petrov got theirs for offering Contrast Gallery to host the event completely free of rental charge and aiding the organization of the Joint Exhibition in a magnificent manner. Ivo Gotchev of Big Mama Scandal rock band got his certificate for providing the proper soundtrack for the announcement video of the event. Both Orlin Spasov and Nikoleta Daskalova, media partners of We Hear You from Media Democracy Foundation were handed their certificates to express our gratitude for the common publications issued on their site and covering the matter of the media’s consideration of deaf people’s needs. Dobrin Keresteliev, editor from the Bulgarian National Television (BNT1), got his certificate to appreciate the fact that he shot the video announcement of the Anniversary. Antonio Hadzhihristov’s contribution as official photographer of the Event was also appreciated. Orbita Design Studio got a Certificate of Appreciation for the creation of the souvenir magnets sold at the Anniversary Event.

The people were largely interested in the magnets. This is partly because they were miniature print-outs of the artworks at the Exhibition and mainly because the money raised on behalf of We Hear You was donated to support a 2-year-old girl with Cerebral Palsy. I accidentally came across the story of little Sofia, whose photo I spotted on Facebook. Her page there says ‘Help me live a normal live!’ I found out the girl was left at her grandparents’ care. The little angel needs profound support and plenty of rehabilitation procedures. Rehabilitation is largely done at a local hospital in Sofia, but she pays occasional visits to Rehabilitation Facilities in Turkey and Greece. All the money raised by We Hear You from the selling of the anniversary magnets with the artworks of deaf artists on them will be donated to support little Sofia.

The magnets will remain at the Contrast Gallery till the end of the Exhibition. The workers there will inform the visitors on the cause at hand. As soon as the Exhibition is over, the money raised will be transferred to Emil Zakov’s bank account, who is Sofia’s grandfather. We sincerely believe that beauty will save at least one person’s world as is the case with the little angel.

The Anniversary Event of the Site featured plenty of togetherness in the air with all sorts of colors and love around. The pieces of the artists from the world of Silence were met with sincere curiosity and sparked great interest among the guests. Niya Yakimova’s textile sculpture and Vanya Petkova’s iconography on ostrich eggs were the top attraction at the event. They saw reactions of mere delight. It was an evening of new friendships and heartfelt conversations with people getting to know each other. Plenty of surprises came about and a good number of new partnerships were promised to be established to support worthy causes in the future.

We Hear You offers gratitudes to Zanga Design Studio and their manager Mr. Anton Penchev for designing the Certificates of Appreciation. Aleks quilling is also to be thanked for making the event cards with the We Hear You logo. We are thankful to Baloncho firm and Veda Print printing office for offering the balloons for the event.

We hope to see you again! Thank you for the shared moments that we’ll remember in time!

The photos from the event are available for downloading at the Gallery of the Site!

Article and collages by: Christina Tchoparova

Photos by: Antonio Hadzhihristov

EN Translation by: Maria Mihailova

 

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