“The East belongs to God.
The West belongs to God.
The north and southern lands,
Rest peacefully in His hands.”
“West–östlicher Divan” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)
The ideas for most paintings in this cycle came from my travels to the Near East and Central Asia (Uzbekistan), as well as from an earlier period in my life when I was a university student in the United States.
Having had the chance to live, study and work in the United States initially and to cohabitate the next 20 years with friends and fellow colleagues from countries and companies where the Western tradition is prevalent, has allowed me to grasp the Western perspective on the world. Simultaneously with this, I value my home country’s position on the crossroad between East and West. Although it is a windy location in terms of its history, political, social and economic development, growing up in Bulgaria has given me the chance to witness how the core ideas shaping the Western world have migrated from the East, passing through our lands and being transformed to finally reach their final destination in the West where they would change form further.
This confluence of cultures has been quite evident not only in my more current travels throughout East and West, but as early as when I was a student; when I was selected to become part of a US Department of Education integrated series of courses and seminars named the “Honors Program”. Its main aim is to provide knowledge and a set of views in the:
- Western tradition by studying some of its “great ideas” as expressed in the humanities, the arts, and the social and natural sciences;
- appreciate challenges posed to the Western intellectual tradition either by considering critical voices traditionally marginalized in that culture or by investigating the assumptions of a non-Western culture; and
- learn to make connections between disciplines, and to ask the larger questions that transcend any single discipline.
In a way, this cycle of paintings was a continuation of the topics I encountered in my university years.
As Leonardo da Vinci has said
“Learn how to see. Rationalize that everything connects to everything else.”