Inside Out Sofia
In 2017, the houses of the Roma community – the largest ethnic minority in Bulgaria – living on Gradinite Street in the Orlandovtsi neighborhood in Sofia, were destroyed, automatically making at least 50 people, 30 of them children, homeless.
The people were given only a week’s notice. Some were given tents by church representatives, while others created makeshift shelters comprised of debris from their destroyed homes. None of the families, who lost their only homes, were provided with an alternative shelter.
35 of the people, whose homes were destroyed, took part in our art action in July 2019. Giant posters with their portraits were printed and placed in the ruins of their homes, and shot from above.
The action focuses on the problem that millions of people around the world each year are forcibly evicted or threatened by evictions due to lack of land rights recognition.
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This is the first action in Bulgaria for the Inside Out project by renowned artist JR. Inside Out communicates various social problems through portrait photography and giant posters placed in urban areas. The action in Sofia is organized by Fine Acts, a global platform for socially engaged creative solutions. The portraits are by the photographer Vesselina Nikolaeva, who has worked for years with the community in the Orlandovtsi neighborhood.
The art action and the portraits were showcased at a pop-up exhibition between 24 and 26 July 2019 in Sofia (address: Cosmos Coworking Camp, Angel Kanchev Street, 3) to spark a dialogue around the contentious issue of forced evictions across the country.
We had the honor of working together with people from the Roma community on Gradinite Street in Sofia, in creating this art action.
With the support of:
Part of the exhibition is another project by Fine Acts called WESEUM, a global series of community-curated pop-up museums. They are designed to make invisible people visible, to build understanding and break down barriers for groups that are stigmatized, oppressed, and often denied their humanity.
In this edition, Fine Acts asked the people from the destroyed Roma neighborhood two questions: "What makes you happy?” and “What makes you sad?”, which they answered with an object. The exhibition includes the collection of these items.
WESEUM is supported by the Davis Projects for Peace.