Community Arts Partnership’s Tracey McVerry talks about a new Landmarks project working with the Bulgarian Association of Northern Ireland

This project is part of Landmarks and we are working with the Bulgarian Association of Northern Ireland (BANI).

The group would normally meet monthly to practice Bulgarian Traditional Dancing and other family activities. The group has, during Lockdown, tried to keep everyone connected but that has been quite difficult given that dancing was the key activity.

When we spoke to the coordinator initially we proposed a project and eventually that lead to us working with families from, Newry, Armagh, Omagh, Enniskillen, Derry and Banbridge.

We had worked with the group previously producing a book celebrating Bulgarian culture as well as looking at how they had progressed over time living in Ireland.

We were looking into the families and their hopes and aspirations particularly for the younger people in their community.

We are working with 15 families, some were part of the original project and some were new to working with Community Arts Partnership. There was an underlying theme of “Over the Rainbow” which was the theme of the original project.

The idea we came up with to add to the original project was “Windows” because at that time we were all in Lockdown so we were looking at the world through various windows.

We were using the windows of people’s houses, and we wanted those windows to be facing the street so people might see the artworks. We were aiming to create stained glass using paper.

In order to facilitate the project I would do introductions over Zoom and then the families would go away and work on their creations.

I have noticed that the pieces people have created are looking back at nature and an appreciation of the natural world.

I think everyone feels that way that during Lockdown when all most people could do was go out for a walk, that nature played a big part in people’s lives during this very difficult period.

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.