Photo credits: Lina Krivoshieva, Mila Cherneva
In collaboration with Médecins du Monde Bulgariathe Visionary Foundation invited four renowned artists: Tochka Spot, Mouse, Kokichan and Aleksi Ivanov, to work with us to improve the urban environment of the "Nadejda" ("Hope" in French) neighbourhood in the city of Sliven. The aim of this direct intervention is to awaken the imagination, dreams and sense of creativity of the children of the district, many of whom live in great poverty.
Many families do not have access to clean water and electricity, the streets turn to mud when it rains, and in winter many people cannot heat their homes. Children do not go to school regularly and there are no playgrounds or green spaces in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood itself is isolated from the rest of the city by a concrete wall and has only two entrances: a pedestrian subway and a street leading to a busy boulevard. This further contributes to the symbolic marginalisation of its inhabitants. This is why the project aims to give hope and improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable by transforming the environment and offering workshops for children and adolescents. In this way, through art, they can develop their vision of the world and see that a better future is possible.
In the first phase of the project (February-March 2022), we organised creative workshops in which children of different ages drew, watched animated shorts, learned different drawing techniques and shared with the artists what they like and what they dream of.
The second stage is to paint the railway subway, which is a major artery in the district, connecting it to the rest of the city. At the end of May 2022, the artists, together with the residents of Nadejda, will refresh the 62-metre tunnel and transform it into a real urban gallery of contemporary murals inspired by the workshops with the children.
The project aims to change the attitudes of the residents themselves as well as the rest of the population of Sliven in order to combat stereotypes. The involvement of public authorities is therefore of great importance.