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BG - за фестивала

PL - o festiwalu


Старо Железаре

Staro Zhelezare is the Street Art village in central Bulgaria, in the middle of Thracian Plain.
It is the unique open-air art gallery, where houses and fences are painted with visages of world celebrities and village residents. It is also called THE VILLAGE OF PERSONALITIES.
Located 40km north from Plovdiv - one of the 6 oldest and most beautiful cities in the world, near Hisarya, with its mineral water springs and Roman heritage, and Starosel, with its dilapidated Thracian tombs, and picteresque winneries, Staro Zhelezare looked like an ordinary village in the Thracian Plain. Its sun-bleached streets, lined with low houses and lush gardens, were mostly empty.
From 2015 Staro Zhelezare became famous throughout Bulgaria as a village of street art and one of the main tourist attractions in the Thracian Plain.
The atmosphere and character of Staro Zhelezare favors the formation of this type outdoor art gallery. This is an original and authentic place, with rustic houses built of adobe - mud bricks - and extremely long walls, with streets like labyrinths and people like sculptures sitting on the benches in front of their houses.

Karl Lagerfeld atelier at Staro Zhelezare


Black and white, Alfred Hitchcock and Princess Diana, Angela Merkel and Bob Marley, The Beatles and Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean, Mahatma Gandhi and Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, Boyko Borisov and Christo Botev, and many more celebrities cover the walls of Staro Zhelezare. Each of them is coupled with a seemingly ordinary man or woman, dressed in the way local villagers do (T-shirts, plain dresses).


Angela Merkel with Granny Sabka


The Beatles with Alexander


Some of the ordinary people shake hands with the international or national celebrities, share a table or laugh with them, ride carts, tend farm animals.
For the outsider, the effect is a gallery of familiar personalities, depicted in their trademark postures, costumes and moods. For the insider, however, this openair gallery has a second meaning – the faces of the villagers, their smiles and personality traits, are equally recognisable. The graffiti of Staro Zhelezare are simultaneously a representation of people of global and local importance.

These encounters of world-renowned personalities in the company of local heroes typically take the form of amicable meetings for quiet, reflective exchanges of views. What do the subjects communicate to each other? What can be learnt? That we can only possibly guess as it is the element of surprise found in the sight of the collision of distant worlds which opens new areas of reflection. The meeting of separate cultures at the individual level touches upon what we are in fact looking for… authenticity and the essence of our times.

Nikolay, Pope Francis
- I talk with the most clever guy in the village


Bay Ivan, Barack Obama
- Obama, he is actually my cousin. I would invite him for a beer.


Baba Velika as every afternoon, is sitting on the bench and having a chat with her neighbour. This time with Queen Elizabeth.

Curiously, a mural on the facade of the local church shows Indira Gandhi and Fidel Castro. This is not accidental - in1968 the village was visited by the Indian prime minister, and in 1972, legendary Fidel Castro also paid a visit to Staro Zhelezare.








The black-and-white graffiti at Staro Zhelezare are the brainchild of a Bulgarian-Polish artistic couple, KATARZYNA AND VENTSISLAV PIRYANKOV, and his students from Poznan Art University


Katarzyna and Ventzislav Piriankov
- artists, creators of Staro Zhelezare Street Art Village
Ventzi was born in this picturesque region. In the early 90s he spent a year studying in the Art Academy in Sofia before winning a contest and going to the Polish city of Poznan, where he continued his studies. There he created an art school that trains young artists.
The project is created with significant Polish participation.
The festival hosts the most talented students of Piriankovs’ School of Drawing VENTZI, who are also students of the Poznan Art University.
The idea, Mr. Piriankov said, “was to use the village as our canvas and to transform it into a work of art.”
It all started in 2014, when the Piryankovs organised the first Mural Festival called Village of Personalities - Art for Social Change here.
From that time each summer they visit Staro Zhelezare togethet with their Polish students. They spent time in their Piriankov Art Center - Art House transformed from Ventzi’s grandparents’ cottage.





Yanko Mitev, who spends his days wandering the village, who is the big lover of art activity in the village, is painted in the company of Patriarch Cyril of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church known from rescuing the Jews during World War II; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai; Boris III, the former czar of Bulgaria; and a generic Orthodox Jew in a black hat and side curls.
Yanko said he dreams of a world where “people live in peace and get along.” 


Above this sene are Polish politicians of opposite sides, who can’t stop quarreling even at the company of Pope John Paul II. Selfportraits of Polish artists are painted among them.




Kancho, the owner of the house, each day takes care of his cows, he is famous in the village of producing milk and making extremly delicious local sausages - sudjuk.

Donald Trump is chatting with one of Kancho’s cows; Kancho is explaining something to Angela Merkel; Ivanka, Kancho’s wife, is talking with Emmanuel Macron.



Entering the village you will see the Transformer, painted with figures of local girls, Bulgarian singer Lili Ivanova and Tina Turner. They all welcome people comming to Staro Zhelezare.
Next to it there is a long wall transformed into the Iconostasis of contemporary Artists like Le Corbusier, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, J.M. Basquiat, Mark Rothko, L.M. van der Rohe, Tadeusz Kantor, Franz Kafka and Banksy. There is local girl Sabka, artists Magellan and Guma among them.





Bay Ivan and Baba Delia have all their children and grandchildren abroad, in America and Italy. They miss them a lot, but now they can feel a bit of their presence, when they seat with them in front of their house .
Bay Ivan as everyday, drives his tractor, this time with Donald Trump and 2 Polish art students.


Baba Delia is sitting with her mulatto grandson and Bob Marley.



Artists at work. Grandpa who was living here, spending his life with his sheep, invited Christo Stoichkov, Bulgarian legendary football player, who has his roots in Staro Zhelezare region.

Grandpa Rangel chose to be depicted along Lyudmila Zhivkova, daughter of Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. She was known for her passion in promoting Bulgarian arts and culture. He himself unfortunately died last autumn. Before his death you could see him exactly like in this photo sitting everyday in this sweater next to his portrait.




Mike Tyson and owner’s friend Pavel, they both love pigeons. Pavel is a big fan of Mike Tyson, whose first fight was when he was 10, and some boy killed his beloved pigeon.


Marylin Monroe in the company of two pigs. They are also Staro Zhelezare residents.


“It’s a natural pairing,” Stefana Gospodinova, a 64-year-old resident of Staro Zhelezare, a remote Bulgarian village, said of herself and Brigitte Bardot, the French femme fatale. “I am mistaken for her all the time.
The two may not exactly look alike, but they do share a love for animals. Hence the depiction of Ms. Gospodinova and her donkey alongside Ms. Bardot and her horse in a photo-realistic mural painted on a whitewashed wall.




In summer 2017 artists created an ART MANIFESTO, which aims to turn village life into the forefront of avant-garde art.







MANIFESTO OF VILLAGE AVANT-GARDE
REAL AVANT-GARDE IS BORN IN THE VILLAGE!
VILLAGE IS THE SOURCE OF PROGRESSIVE IDEAS!
STARO ZHELEZARE IS THE SOURCE OF PROGRESSIVE IDEAS!
ALL ARTISTS TO THE VILLAGE!
VILLAGE FUTURISM IS COMMING!
LONG LIVE THE WORLDWIDE VILLAGE ART – DECISIVE FACTOR OF SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT!
IN THE CITY A MAN EXPLOITS A MAN, AND IN THE VILLAGE IT’S JUST THE OPPOSITE!
CITIZENS! BE READY FOR VILLAGE AVANT-GARDE!
EACH VACCINATED VILLAGE ARTIST – THE PILLAR OF HUMANITY DEVELOPMENT!
LET’S RAISE ART TO A HIGHER LEVEL!
VILLAGE AVANT-GARDE IS INEVITABLE!
ARTISTS ON BARRICADES!














The Village of Personalities
Reconstruction of a Bulgarian Village / Art for social change


A festival celebrating tolerance, multiculturalism, migration, metamorphosis, and other possible realities.





Further information about the festival can be found on our facebook site:
https://www.facebook.com/PiriankovArtCenter/

Find us on Google maps:
https://maps.google.pl/maps/ms?msid=203315012784224101944.0004e2df8d64b08188ef0&msa=0&ll=42.440567%2C24.652215&spn=0.000978%2C0.002642


PCCA / PIRIANKOV CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, STARO ZHELEZARE
curators: Katarzyna i Ventzislav Piriankov