Credo Bonum Gallery: Like crossing an abyss upon a taut string

19.07.2012 – 31.08.2012

They will ask thee how to traverse life. 

Answer: Like crossing an abyss upon a taut string—

Beautifully, carefully, and fleetly."

Living Ethics. Leaves of Moryas Garden. Vol. 1. Appeal. Epilogue.

This brief and beautiful passage seems like the finest reminiscence of the sparkling Himalayan peaks under heavenly skies and the fascinating artistic fate of Nicholas Roerich. But it also just as credibly describes the life of one of the most controversial figures in our recent history, Lyudmila Zhivkova.

How would one be able to walk literally and metaphorically the way from the Himalayas to Socialist Bulgaria, from the East retired to meditation and philosophical insights to the political East of ideologies, if not by constantly balancing between the edges of the abyss.

In the 1970s Lyudmila Zhivkova introduced in Bulgaria an unusually progressive way of thinking and talking about culture, heavily influenced by the philosophical and ethical teachings of Roerich. Along with the public contributions of the Russian artist and the merit attributed to him for the conservation of monuments worldwide under the banner of peace, the paragraphs of Living Ethics broke through the ideological templates and imposed themselves here as the new official code. Lyudmila Zhivkova made ​​this change from the inside, undoubtedly because of her strong political positions, but also because of her personal belief that this is the best choice for her country, which not only does not contradict the political doctrine, but in its own way fills it with content. She managed to formulate her belief using the language of the authorities, facing the risk of being perceived by them as an enemy.

By decision of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party a "Long-term comprehensive programme to promote the role of art and culture for the harmonious development of the personality and society in the stage of building an advanced socialist society" was established in March 1978.

Although Lyudmila Zhivkova managed to implement only a small part of the ambitious initiative during her lifetime, the principles of the cultural policy, which she established have been adopted and developed over the following decades. Nicholas Roerich was the first example she chose to impose within the long-term programme, because of her personal attachment to his art and philosophy, as well as the global scope of his activities from Russia, through India, to America, which sets one of the most important aspects of the programme – its desire to be open to the world. In this sense Roerich always remains a reliable key to the personal and public destiny of Lyudmila Zhivkova.

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