Heerz Tooya Gallery is an oasis of contemporary art, in the midst of the Bulgarian, medieval fortress kingdom of Veliko Tarnovo.
0059 Heerz Tooya Gallery
Ivan Vazov Street 16 and 18
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
GPS: 43.081491, 25.642198
With the vast majority of art, architecture, history, and culture in Veliko Tarnovo originating hundreds, if not thousands of year ago, the mere concept of contemporary art feels completely alien in this environment.
But like a seed that defies all odds, and sprouts in the desert, the signs of signs of contemporary art culture can be seen, timidly blooming in the narrow side-streets, stairways, and alleys of the city.
The contrast can actually be quite shocking. A Bulgarian city overflowing with medieval fortresses and Ottoman houses, with an occasional flash of graffiti and a bold splash of color.
And then came the vikings.
In 2016, Norwegen artist Lars Nordby visited Veliko Tarnovo. In a city only known artistically for its abundance of traditional blacksmiths, wood-carvers, and leatherworkers, he had a vision of bringing contemporary art into the mix.
In January 2019, his new gallery, “Heerz Tooya”, presented its first exhibition and continued to provide monthly solo exhibitions throughout the year.
Heerz Tooya is a fun name, that comes from a fun place. Lars gets a kick out of the fact that an entomologist in Mexico discovered a new moth and because he could name it anything he wanted, named it, the Heerz Tooya moth.
This is a story Lars loves to tell, so when you meet him, pretend that you don’t know, and ask him where he got the name for his gallery.
But, as you can imagine, like a drop of creative water in a centuries-old desert, Lars’ gallery was a massive hit.
Today Heerz Tooya presents a steady program of Bulgarian and international visual artists, both new and well-established.
The infusion of contemporary art into the landscape of Veliko Tarnovo was a bold ands wonderful move, and something that needed to eventually happen for the culture of this ancient city to expand enough to tell the story of Veliko Tarnovo in this new millennia.
The gallery also provides the artist residency program ARV.International, including a studio located in a village thirty-seven kilometers away. The artists-in-residence live there for a month, producing new artworks and concluding their stay with a solo exhibition at Heerz Tooya.
SizzleMap films created in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria are produced in collaboration with
TAM – Space for Art and Social Initiatives.
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