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The newly opened exhibition ‘Qalqan/Shield’ at the Mission Gallery reveals the unique Crimean cultural heritage

09 May 2024 News

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria Maria Angelieva and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Olesya Ilashchuk opened on 8 May at the ‘Mission’ Gallery of the State Cultural Institute under the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria the exhibition ‘Qalqan/Shield’ by the Crimean Tatar artist Rustem Skybin. The event was honoured by many distinguished guests and diplomats.

In her opening speech, Deputy Minister Maria Angelieva stressed that the exhibition is a very important act of support and solidarity: ‘The project of the famous Crimean Tatar artist Rustem Skybin, titled ‘Shield’, is a kind of true creative expression of the challenges and trials of the times in which we all live. On the eve of the holiday that unites us more than ever in European solidarity and common human values — 9 May, Europe Day, the day of peace and unity, I have the pleasure to be here at the Mission Gallery of the State Cultural Institute and to open a really interesting international exhibition, for which I congratulate the organizers of the Institute and the Embassy of Ukraine in Bulgaria.

Ambassador Ilashchuk said that the project ‘Shield’ by the most famous Crimean Tatar master Rustem Skybin is dedicated to a very important and difficult anniversary. ‘Eighty years ago, on Stalin's orders, all the Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimea, almost half of them dying on the way or during their first years in exile. This is one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century — forced deportation and the loss of their homeland for decades’, she said, adding that issues concerning Crimea and ensuring the rights of the Crimean Tatar people are on the main agenda of Ukraine's leadership.

Director of the State Cultural Institute Snezhana Yoveva welcomed the guests and noted that the opening of the exhibition and the personal visit of the artist Rustem Skybin in Sofia, in these extremely difficult times, is a high honour for all who have respected the event in the ‘Mission’ Gallery.

Rustem Skybin has been working on this project for 20 years. He was born in Samarkand in 1996 and graduated from the Samarkand School of Art. After the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, he returned to Crimea and began to actively research, revive and develop ancient Crimean Tatar crafts. His unique style of polychrome ceramic painting, titled ‘Quru Isar’, is recognized as a new global brand of Crimea and Ukraine.

The exhibition features ceramic panels and information posters that reveal historical ornaments and the rich cultural heritage of the Crimean Tatars. Rustem Skybin's work contributes to the preservation of the memory and identity of a people.

The artistic project is realized with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Bulgaria, the State Cultural Institute under the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, the NGO ‘El Chebier’, the Lviv Museum for the History of Religion and the United Initiative ‘Crimean Front’.

The Shield exhibition is open to visitors every weekday and will run until 17 May 2024.

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