The music and dances of my people :  Art contest in Bulgaria

Artwork by winner of first award by participant aged 13 years, from Odessa, Ukraine 

The drawing contest, Music and Dances of My People, is organized by the Municipality of Montana, in Bulgaria as part of their International Festival of Wind Orchestras “Diko Iliev”. The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria is the patron of this festival. The festival is a traditional cultural event of Montana, celebrated every two years and aims to promote the music heritage of the distinguished Bulgarian composer Diko Iliev, both within Bulgaria and abroad. 

Through the festival, the Municipality of Montana seeks to disseminate knowledge about Diko Iliev and encourage participation in the festival, which contributes towards preservation of the rich tradition of brass bands as well as the cultural memory in Bulgaria, as a source of spiritual identity and national pride in a globalizing world. The drawing contest is a biennial event and an important part of this festival. 

Artwork by winner of first award by participant aged 6 years, from Bulgaria

The drawing contest aims to popularize the festival and attract the attention of youth and children on the subject of ‘traditional music and dance heritage of their homeland’. It was established 12 years ago as a regional event and since 2006, it has become an international event. The next edition of the competition will be in 2014. In the 2012, Music and Dances of My People, drawing contest, nearly 2400 children from 21 foreign countries participated. For the first time in the contest, participation was received from children from Albania, Iran, Spain, China, Latvia and Portugal. 

First award artworks (Left) by participant (13 yrs) from Bulgaria; Right by participant (8 years) from Serbia 

Children’s submissions were assessed by a professional committee, chaired by Bisera Valeva, Associate Professor from Sofia University (St. Kliment Ohridski) and the National Art Academy. There were twelve winners of the first, second and third awards from different age groups, which included children from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia and Indonesia. Apart from these awards, a Diploma for exceptionally successful and complex artworks was awarded to children from 18 schools and art clubs from Serbia, Indonesia, Ukraine, India, Iran and Bulgaria. 

Encouraging award artwork by Kalina Karajan

Encouraging awards were also given to 53 talented children. Among them is Kalina Karajan- the granddaughter of the distinguished orchestra and opera conductor Herbert von Karajan. The young winners of this drawing contest received their awards at the opening ceremony of the International Festival of Wind Orchestras “Diko Iliev” on May 16th, 2012. An exhibition of the outstanding works by contest participants was also inaugurated on the same day in the Kutlovitsa Art Gallery in Montana. For more information please contact Nelly Vasileva, Senior expert of culture and religion, Municipality of Montana, Montana.