We are very happy to announce that Sofia Queer Forum 2018 will be curated by Yasen Zgurovski and Boryana Rossa. 

The topic of Sofia Queer Forum 2020 is Bulgarian Drag History and it will be dedicated to the history of the drag performance in Bulgaria with a focus on the 1990s. This edition of SQF aims to create a widely accessible information database that will provoke a conversation between generations of drag performers and those who are inspired by them, by including the centers of drag performance across the country.

Typical of the unisex and techno aesthetics of the 1990s, this drag cultural scene is widespread as a commercial trend in fashion and music and defines the profile of the new and youthful of those years worldwide. What is specific for the Bulgarian scene is that despite the subcultural nature of the drag scene, it is widely accepted and, unlike elsewhere, is not typical only for queer circles. "Spartacus" in Sofia and Varna, "Caligula" in Plovdiv, "Oscar Wilde" and "Alexander" in Varna are not just "gay bars": they are frequented by heterosexual people, and the community of club goers is further created by the choice of the face control at the entrance, who assesses whether one’s appearance suits the queer and drag atmosphere inside, without necessarily referring to the sexuality of each of the visitors. The extravagant and often exaggerated incarnations of the opposite sex are highly valued and included. Due to this inclusion, the scene is highly inspiring for generations of artists and cultural figures who began their careers in the 1990s, and marks the beginning of artistic expression and a way of life bearing its influence to this very day.

This edition of SQF will include an exhibition in Structura Gallery and an online archive as part of the SQF website, which will feature documentary photos and videos of drag queens who participated in the program of legendary club scenes such as Spartacus (Sofia), Oscar Wilde and Alexander (Varna) and Caligula (Plovdiv). The materials will be accompanied by a series of interviews with the queens, as well as with theater directors and artists, who show the extremely strong influence of this club environment on theater, music, television, fashion and lifestyle publishing from the 90s. The forum will also trace the connection of this phenomenon with its newer manifestations in this scene such as "Queer Carousel", "House of Diva Station" and "House of Benediction".

During the Sofia Queer Forum, the drag performance will be situated in a historical context. The topic of cross-dressing has always been relevant and is present in many different layers of Bulgarian culture for centuries. Examples are the folk traditions of men crossdressing as women and women as men from the time of the Thracians, unique to our country and almost unrepresented in our neighboring cultures. These traditions continue to be widely represented in Bulgarian folklore and religious rites during Babinden (Grandma’s Day), the "sovoynitsa" ritual and the Kukers’ festivities. Such rituals and their comparative consideration of today reflect not only the plasticity of human sexuality, but also the polyvalence of gender roles in society.

This year Sofia Queer Forum works in cooperation with Structura Gallery.

Yasen Zgurovski was born in 1974 in Gubkin, Russia. He has studied Cartoon Cinema under Prof. Ivan Veselinov, and in 2000 received his degree in Arts from New Bulgarian University, Sofia. He has made illustrations for various Bulgarian and foreign editions. He has made illustrations for various Bulgarian and foreign editions. His artist bio includes illustrations for FAME Cards, the magazines Edno, Egoist, Insight, Intro, Capital, Month2Come, Free Medium (Australia), The Sound of Drowning (UK), reFRESH magazine (UK), daydream (UK), Tattoo Dimension (Italy), Pop Psychedelic (Singapore), Kitchy Koo! (Canada), Museum of Wonders (Italy), Metro (Czech Rep.), Queer Trash (USA), and has also worked with Totally Erected Fashion House, Coffee House, Life House, Free Front and others. His individual exhibitions wear beautiful names such as "Over indulgence", "New Gospel of Pleasure"," What a Wonderful World," and are a classic example of pop art. He has participated in collective exhibitions such as Masters Re-Mastered (Goethe Institute, Sofia), Art Destroys Walls (Bolshevik Island, Bоurgas, Bulgaria), Out Is In (Red Bull Space, New York City, USA), Ars Homo Erotica (Warsaw), Artists for Athens Pride (Athens), Sofia Queer Forum, etc. Describes his style as queer trash and psychedelic pop. http://yasenzgurovski.blogspot.com Julieta Intergalactica is a fictional character created by the artist. Her star rises with the opening of the cult night club Spartacus at the end of the 1990s, when, together with Miss Boni, Medea, Cecile, La Costa, Rebecca and Ursula they found the drag culture in Bulgaria, bringing a new sense of glamour in the club life. www.facebook.com/julietaintergalactica  

Boryana Rossa, Ph.D., is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who lives and works between Sofia and New York. Her works are situated on the cross-section of electronic arts and biological arts, film, video, performance and photography. Associate Professor in Transmedia, School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, NY. In 2004, together with the Russian artist and film maker Oleg Mavromatti, Rossa establishes UTRAFUTURO an international group of artists engaged with issues of technology, science and their social implications from intersectional cyber feminist perspective. In 2012, Rossa has finished her Ph.D. on Post Cold-War Gender Performances, in the Department of Arts, at Rensselaer, Troy, NY. In 2014 she is a fellow of New York Foundation for the Arts, category Media Arts, together with Oleg Maromatti. Most of Rossa’s works have been shown internationally at venues such as Brooklyn Museum, NY; GARAGE Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Museum of Contemporary Art (MUMOK) Vienna; Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw;  steirischer herbst, Graz; National Gallery of Fine Arts, Sofia; 1st Balkan Biennale, Thessaloniki; Kunstwerke and Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; The 1st Moscow Biennial;  Sofia City Art Gallery; Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel; Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Her works are in numerous public and private collections such as Art Collection of Erste Bank-Group; Thessaloniki Museum of Contemporary Art; Sofia City Art Gallery: Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art; Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, NY, etc. http://boryanarossa.com

This edition of SQF is supported by the Audiences Program of the National Culture Fund.