Last week, a mirage-like landscape appeared on my screen: a peaceful panorama of verdant foothills painted with broad gestural strokes. For any of us locked down in large cities (already more than 20 per cent of the global population), this view of natural wonder is tantalising and depressingly unattainable. The author of the work, Bulgarian artist Daniela Yankova, exhibited the scene last year in her hometown of Sofia well before the Covid-19 crisis. Looking at it now, the small inscription in the corner — “it’s not only about you” — reads like a gentle reminder to stay home for our communities.
The painting is part of a series by the artist called Outside In, which was exhibited at CREDO BONUM gallery in Sofia in the form of an installation: a notebook, behind a locked door with a spy-hole. The series was made in response to the theme of distance. “The fact it seems prophetic is only a coincidence,” Yankova later explained in an email. “It is a warning: not only the distance between man and nature but also the distance which people create between each other.”
You can peruse more of her illustrative work on her Instagram page (@shadowschaser) which includes illustrations of Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast and observations on daily life.
Outside In started as a study about personal space. If you’re feeling cabin fever and yearning to travel, Yankova has a motivational painting that chimes with the times: “It’s about the distance you’ve made inside yourself”.
“You are not alone,” says Yankova. “We are all in this together, perhaps more than ever before. Don’t forget to help others — this is the only way to survive.”