For the third year, Vaska Emanouilova partners with Sofia Queer Forum by providing the space for the organization’s annual exhibition of contemporary art – an event with a mission to expand public dialogue on the issue of differences concerning sex, sexuality and gender in Bulgaria. Curators of the 2018 Forum titled A Homeland for the Vagabond are the independent artists, art critics and curators Mohammad Salemy (based in New York and Berlin) and Patrick Schabus (based in Vienna and Berlin). They engage with the actual and pressing question of queer migrants and refugees in Eastern Europe. The curators have created an exhibition and a series of events in which queer refugees are portrayed, in Patrick Schabus’s words, as “excluded twice (politically AND culturally) from their own societies and yet not accepted by the host country”. The human complexity of this situation and the search of a better life and equal political and social rights are made visible in various stories and projects of internationally renowned and widely represented artists such as Bruce LaBruce, Barbara Hammer and Viron Erol Vert. The exhibition also includes a work titled Help by Borjana Ventzislavova, as a metaphor for the general situation of all migrants and refugees but particularly those who identify as queer.
What does it mean to be queer in a time of deregulations, growing racism, nationalism, a widening gap between rich and poor as to the quality of life, and discrimination? Without providing definitive answers to the multiple questions or defending either the right or left political stance on the issues, Sofia Queer Forum 2018: A Homeland for the Vagabond, evokes empathy with this particular human condition. Also part of the event is the public art project Put yourself in My Place by Alphabet Collection, an artist collective made up by the curators. On the gallery's façade, as well as at various other spots in Sofia, hang posters which tell the story of an Afghan queer refugee who had escaped sexual abuse in his own country to Bulgaria, only to find himself sexually abused in a Bulgarian home for refugees and migrants.
On November 10th at Fabrika Avtonomia, within the Sofia Queer Forum 2018: A Homeland for the Vagabond, there will be a conversation held with one of the exhibition artists
Viron Erol Vert and Queer theorist João Florêncio as well as other guests on the topic of “The Place and the Voice of the Queer Migrant in the General Emancipatory Struggle in Europe and Worldwide”.
Information about the events and Sofia Queer Forum can be found on: https://sofiaqueerforum.org/bg and http:// www.facebook.com/sofiaqueerforum. For the artists’ and biographies, please visit the website of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery at www.veg.sghg.bg.
SOFIA QUEER FORUM 2018: A HOMELAND FOR THE VAGABOND is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Southeast Europe, Gaudenz B. Ruf Award for new Bulgarian art, Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, and The New Center for Research and Practice.