2017 – Vessela Brakalova

Vessela Brakalova, originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, immigrated to Canada in 1990 with both a Masters and Bachelor of Fine Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in her native country. A few years later she established Vis-à-Vis Graphics, and keeps busy between that work and her professional art practice.

Her artwork can be found in the City of St. John’s permanent collection, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery and bank, and in private collections in Canada and Europe. She was also a participant at the International Art and Contemporary Mosaic in Florence, Italy in 2015.

Brakalova’s contemporary mosaic pieces, being presented as awards tonight, form a collection she calls Genesis, loosely based on the narrative expressed in the biblical book of the same name. The term is also commonly associated with geology and the evolutionary history of life.

Each piece has its own name, and they include Chaus, Sky, Light, Conception, Life, and The Sixth Day. The series has exhibited at The Rooms in the past as part of The Free World exhibition which ran from May to September, 2016.

Vessela describes the body of work as a meeting point, where the fury of ceramic, stone, and metal crosses with the fragile tranquility of broken glass.

The artist’s goal is to celebrate her passion for challenging boundaries that define a traditional mosaic, contrasting aesthetics that fight for control leading to exciting things. She hopes audiences, different people, will see different things – even though they’re looking at the same image – because the meanings we assign to patterns and shapes are influenced by culture, politics, and personal experience.

The works are framed in copper and hang like a painting. The contemporary forms found in each piece are inspired by the nature, history, rugged beauty, and resilient people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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