Bulgarian PM Snubs Artists' Union Honors

Culture | October 10, 2011, Monday // 14:12|  views

Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov (center), is speaking to the media after the meeting with the Union of Bulgarian Artist on his and PM Borisov's honorary membership. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Prime Minister postponed Monday accepting to become honorary member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and the plaque that goes along with the membership.

The honorary membership titles had to be bestowed to Borisov and Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, on the grounds of the cabinet's crucial role in helping the Union in a legal dispute it had with Sofia University over the ownership of a key building in central Sofia – the arts gallery on 6, Shipka street.

Borisov's decision came after Prof. Velislav Minekov, chair of the control committee of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, made a statement to the media Saturday, denouncing the decision as "servile and shameless."

The Union's board, however, remained firm Monday that the honorary membership is awarded for exceptional contributions, including to people who are not artists.

The news about the postponement was announced after a meeting between Borisov and the Union, held Monday at the Council of Ministers building. The initial location of the meeting was designated as the gallery on Shipka street, but was changed at the last minute. Journalists were not allowed to attend.

The Deputy Chair of the Union, Dimitar Grozdanov, reported the reason for the delay was the PM's promise to slate funds for renovations at the gallery and only upon their completion the ceremony is to be held.

Borisov told journalists after the meeting he had no idea who "cooked this scandal."

"A plaque would not make me more important, so I returned it to them. Let them give it to those who think this is vital for me," he said.

The PM reminded that according to the Court's rule, the building was to be given to the University, adding if the cabinet had not interfered, the artists would be now rallying in protest in front of the same building.

Rashidov, on his part, stated that there was no bigger award for him than the artists having a home where they can work freely and undisturbed.

When asked if he had ever seen Borisov draw or paint, the Culture Minister replied: "I have seen him draw beautiful sketches during meetings of the Council of Ministers."

"Sylvester Stallone draws; he stages exhibits and sells pictures for EUR 50 000, why should the PM not be drawing if he has the inclination? Borisov can develop a talent and one day some of his works can become priceless as those of Picasso. Art is not a precise science; no one knows when the genius would come up. Gauguin developed his talent at the age of 41," Rashidov said, but pointed out questions about Borisov's contributions were border-line tabloid.

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Tags: gallery, Sofia University, communist, Vezhdi Rashidov, Boyko Borisov, Velislav Minekov, Union of Bulgarian Artists, honorary, membership, member


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