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50 stories - Billie Stefan

25 July 2022 Events and Discussions



I arrived in Melbourne many, many years ago. Tired of almost 24 hours of flying, I said to myself "no going back".

A few moments were sealed in my memory for the rest of my life.

The left-hand side movement was shocking for me for a long time and I was crossing the street in fear. The fresh air at Templestone and the horseback riding of the locals in the park left an indelible impression. There were no such large parks in Sofia.

An important moment in my life was when I stumbled upon an Aboriginal exhibition. I instantly fell in love with Aboriginal art. I said to myself, "I can paint these pictures." Many years passed and I finally decided to start. I had never touched a brush in my life.

As a former graduate of the woodworking industry, I cut a brush and started making dots. I enjoyed doing this for hours. I had the support of my family.

I showed a few paintings in an exhibition gallery and was extremely disappointed when I was told that I could not paint Aboriginal paintings because I was not an Aboriginal woman. This did not stop me from wanting to paint. Thanks to the advice of my daughter, I started attending drawing classes. My teacher showed me different techniques, for which I will be forever grateful. So I started painting paintings different from Aboriginal.

My friends supported me and bought many of my paintings at the voluntary exhibition at the Peninsula. It was a big gesture on their part.

Now I have a desire to start painting again with a completely new technique, which I will keep a secret.

With love


(Artist name Dilba)

Note from Radost  - Billie graduated from the University of Forestry in Sofia, majoring in Furniture Design.


The story is from the book “Bulgarians in Melbourne” (2017) from Radost Racheva, who is also author of the photographs, provided pro bono for the project.


More photos

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