Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists: Nevena Ekimova

  •  August 12, 2022

Nevena Ekimova was born and lives in Gabrovo. She studied Arts in Norway and Iceland, graduated from the Art Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is the author of two solo exhibitions: The Landlord (2018) and Three Times Insides (2021). Among her participation in group exhibitions are: Where is the sculpture? (2020) and Everything is Just Fine (2020), Credo Bonum Gallery; BASE – an exhibition of the nominees (2019), Sofia Art Gallery; Art Start: There Will Always Be Tomorrow (2019), Goethe Institut.

Nevena’s works are visual and tactile. They often contain a poetic and/or performative element and invite the audience to actively participate. Nevena is the creator of the Hall of Mirrors and the Town Garden Children’s Hall at the Museum of Humor and Satire in Gabrovo.

In 2019, she participated in the first edition of BFW’s Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists with the installation “Wooden Wedding” – a documentary observation of the daily life of a five-year-old Bulgarian family. Couples with and without children recognize motifs from the dynamics of gender relations in a relationship conditioned by its time and place – Bulgaria between patriarchal tradition and feminism. Nevena is among the 11 artists selected by the jury to participate in the 2020 group exhibition of the Fund “Everything is Just Fine”.

Why do you create art? What are your biggest inspirations?

I can’t help but create. And quite seriously, I think that this need exists in everyone. Art is within all of us, but we rarely dare to give it carte blanche, convinced since childhood that it is economically worthless. I have been creating for as long as I can remember, but it took me a lot of time, attempts and mistakes until I overcame my fear and made it my profession.

I am mostly inspired by my own everyday life and surroundings. I read a lot and my head is full of words. I look at what other artists are doing, but I do not flood myself with visual stimuli so that I can stay slightly out of the trends. I like being a semi-outsider.

How important is life context to artistic work?

It is very important but to me, experience is important as well. Up until five years ago, even though I had walked the path and graduated in Sweden, I refused to believe that I could (and was not even sure if I wanted to) work as an artist. My experience has shown me that the deprivations and compromises that go hand in hand with this choice are actually not overwhelming. But to be able to maintain a tolerable economic condition and above all to have support from the people around you is really priceless.

Is the role of female artists changing in the Bulgarian scene? How?

My observations of this scene are recent, and for me the female presence has always been strong. There are many great female artists out there, and I’m sure there will be even more.

What challenges do women artists face?

I will speak generally about all the countries where I have lived. The main challenge for women is the same as in any other field – to overcome the lack of self-confidence caused by that subtle condescension attitude from various important people – artists, curators, old-school gallerists. But this generation will be replaced, there is no other way. Young people are already on a completely different wave.

Why is art created by women important to society? And for artistic circles?

All art is important because it shows diverse perspectives and helps expand people’s worldviews and hearts. The more visible the art created by women is, the faster we will stop being “the other sex”.

How did the Fund help you? What happened next?

The Fund financed one of my largest projects back then, and it did it in a way that gave me with a lot of freedom of action and provided me with a decent fee – something that is extremely rare. The participation gave me many new contacts and opportunities, as well as the self-confidence that I can create ambitious works in terms of conception and execution.

What advice would you give to future participants in the Women’s Art Project Fund?

Apply with confidence, this is a great opportunity!

Participate in the new edition of Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists: Open Call “State of Emergency“! We invite women artists from all spheres of contemporary visual arts to propose projects for new works addressing issues and problems relevant to our society. The deadline for applications is August 15 and the maximum project funding is BGN 5000. Find out more HERE.

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