Sofia Queer Forum 2021: Queer Roma: We've got the Power is dedicated to Roma minorities, their identity, and life experience in an international context. For this purpose, the artists Selma Selman and Peter Lee, and the curator Martina Stefanova, present in three spaces exhibitions of international artists of Roma origin in dialogue with their Bulgarian colleagues. The National Gallery is hosting one of the events, at the Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art. DOZA Gallery and the independent Aether Art Space are the other hosts.

 

On the one hand, Selman and Lee write in their manifesto for the forum: “This iteration of the festival is not simply another symbolic gesture. It is a call to rethink and reframe our possibilities and our collective futures specifically aware of the sensitivities and issues of heavily discriminated populations - and creating a space to exchange empowering tools and technologies.” Located simultaneously at the three galleries, their work presents the possibilities for resistance through technology and social media, through the physical and the digital.

Martina Stefanova creates a dialogue with Bulgarian artists, which reflects the topic, referring to popular clichés in Bulgarian society and the role of gender in the minority group. The exhibition also includes several performances – a fire show by Plovdiv actress Donka Kyoseva - a compelling story of a female relationship; a collaboration between the artist Voin de Voin and the famous Internet star Gibo Baby; online discussions; and a movie program.


Selma Selman, Lexi Fleurs, Robert Gabris, Donka Kyoseva, Aaron Rott are presented at the Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art, whose works cover topics such as future utopias, sexual discrimination, and social roles, transethnic unions. Along with them at DOZA Gallery the dialogue will be continued through the works by Pretty Loud, Vikenti Komitski, Voin de Voin, and Edgar Endress. The day after the opening, at the independent Aether Art Space will be presented the art project by the young Romanian star Alina Serban - 2020's winner of the Best Actress award, of the German Actors Guild, and nominated for the Best Actress by the German Film Awards 2020 for her starring role in "Gipsy Queen."

Sofia Queer Forum 2021 is held in cooperation with DOMA Art Foundation, which organizes the event with the support of the Socially Engaged Art Program by National Culture Fund, Bulgaria.


 

Martina Stefanova is a cultural manager, co-founder, and executive director of DOMA art foundation. She lived 12 years in Moscow, where graduated MA in printmaking at the Moscow State University of Printing. Meanwhile, she specialized in media and animation in South Korea. Since 2012 she has been working and actively researching the field of contemporary art as a producer and organizer of a number of events, both in Bulgaria and abroad. In 2016 he won the Forbes Bulgaria award in the field of "Culture, Arts and Media", and in 2017 the magazine Capital in the NEXT Generation competition for young business leaders.

Selma Selman is from Bosnia and Herzegovina and is of Romani origin. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2014 from Banja Luka University’s Department of Painting In 2018 she graduated from Syracuse University with a Master of Fine Arts in Transmedia, Visual and Performing Arts. In her artworks, the ultimate aim is to protect and enable female bodies and enact a cross-scalar approach to the collective self-emancipation of oppressed women. Selma’s search for functional, contemporary political resistance stems from her personal experience with oppression from various directions and scales. Selman is also the founder of the organization ”Get The Heck To School” which aims to empower Roma girls all around the world who faced ostracization from society and poverty. Selma Selman currently lives and works in Bihac, BIH, and New York, USA. For the last several years, she has been working in collaboration with Chongha Peter Lee, who is currently based in New York and Washington, D.C. Most recently, he has been building on the idea of “Virtual Materialism” synthesizing new physical facts from the Web 4 quantum internet, critical philosophy on the Neganthropocene, and proxypunk culture. In 2016, he received his MFA in Transmedia at Syracuse University, using various media to explore the irresolvable ambiguities of technology, perception, and mediation and its ramifications on social organizations. He was an integral member of the Planetary Research Assemblage, co-producing “The Impossible Dialogues Interface” for the Chile Architectural Biennale in 2017.

Chongha Peter Lee is currently based out of New York and Washington, D.C. He is a media artist, organizer, theorist, and performance lecturer whose work deals with quantum data science, non-binary hacking, and pop culture. He is currently a Research Fellow for Provisions Library for Arts and Social Change, based out of George Mason University, and advising on AI ethics and human-machine collaboration for one of the world’s first carbon credit markets. In 2016, he received his MFA in Transmedia at Syracuse University, defending a project of art automation software. He co-founded the Anti-Fragile Agency, a media assemblage that participated in the online The Wrong Biennale, and “Superpositional Reality”, a VR work that was shown in Video Vortex as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India. He co-produced “The Impossible Dialogues Interface” for the Chilean Architecture and Urbanism Biennial in 2017 with General Architectural Collaborative.