What is the story behind Little Bird Place?
Little Bird Place is the one and only gallery in Bulgaria with a specific thematic focus on modern and contemporary art dedicated to nature, biological diversity and ecology. Established in the end of 2019 by Rossen Uzunov, founder and owner, together with Antoaneta Quick, art manager of the gallery, we entered Sofia's art scene with the genuine desire to create space for a deep and natural connection between art, nature and the city.
The gallery has embraced the challenge to step out of the conventional art space and the typical white cube, in order to create an environment for sharing and exchanging ideas, thoughts and discussions in an easy and accessible way even for people without such a background.
Our mission is to offer different ways of exhibiting and interpreting the artworks through the participation of curators and artists, by using relevant audio-visual equipment, and by organizing different events in a cozy ambience that extols nature’s aesthetics right in the heart of the city.
Can you introduce the duo behind Little Bird Place?
Antoaneta Quick (left) and Rossen Uzunov (right) in the gallery for Beyond the Canon an exhibition by Lyuben Domozetski, © Little Bird Place
Rossen Uzunov is the founder and owner of Little Bird Place Gallery. Uzunov is a medical doctor and former top manager for a leading international company in the pharmaceutical sector, an avid nature lover and a longtime enthusiast in the field of zoology and bird photography.
Antoaneta Quick is the art manager of the gallery. Quick is also an artist herself and curator, economist by education, musician by passion and a huge nature lover and environmental advocate.
Does the galley’s location influence or inspire your curated exhibitions?
Little Bird Place is a little green nest hidden behind a wall of ivy in between the old buildings of downtown Sofia. This makes its connection to nature even more juxtaposed with the busy life of the big city.
But in this contrast we find a way to give our audience a little escape from the outside world, and the opportunity to connect to art and artists in a deeper, more intimate way.
Besides, in our close proximity there are a few more galleries, with which we're not just friendly neighbors, but also indulge in common projects that aim to turn our neighborhood into a well established gallery quarter. And having one of the biggest cathedrals on the Balkans as a backdrop to our gallery, with its mighty bells ringing, only adds on to the dreamy aesthetics of our location.
How do you select the artists you represent?
Lyuben Domozetski, Beyond the Canon, © Little Bird Place
We are grateful to be working with curators and art critics whose professional advice and guidance we've trusted since the beginning, but we also trust our gut feelings. Whenever we come across an artist or their art and we feel an instant connection, appreciation and imagine them fitting our space, we usually follow that instinct and start collaborating with them soon after that. Additionally, we also aim to select artists who are inspired or represent nature in some way through their art, as this remains the core value of our gallery.
To expand upon the previous question, are you interested in working with artists at a specific moment in their career or do you work with artists at any stage?
We are excited to work with artists at different career stages, ages, backgrounds, nationalities, and go beyond any particular requirements and trends. We tend to always seek potential and crave innovation, while honoring the artists who laid the foundations of contemporary Bulgarian art.
In 2020, we also established Little Bird International Artist Residency in the village of Leshten in the Rhodope mountain, as a natural continuation and affiliation to the gallery. This initiative gave great opportunities to young inexperienced artists to create in an inspiring environment, collaborate with other artists, be guided professionally by our partners from Art and Culture Today, and receive a unique opportunity to exhibit their creations afterwards at our gallery in Sofia. This project was so successful and appreciated, that we already did a few more editions of it and are planning more.
Do you have an exhibition or a project that you are particularly proud of? If yes, can you talk a bit about it?
I believe we take pride in each of our exhibitions, because we put a lot of thought and heart into them every time. Of course, some projects stand out, either because they bring something completely new to our walls or we learn and grow from them, or they connect us to the audience in a different way.
An exhibition we are particularly proud of was "The Ants by Ivan Lazarov," where we presented for the first time drawings and collages by the great classic Bulgarian sculptor that have never been shown before. Another show we are very happy we managed to organize in times of a world pandemic, was "Bodies of Land by Zachari Logan," a well established Canadian artist, whom we proudly presented for the first time in Bulgaria, and whose art struck a lot of interest in the local audience. Both exhibitions were curated by Lyuben Domozetski, PhD, an art historian, curator, artist, and one of our leading gallery partners.
Little Bird Place is a gallery dedicated to nature, biological diversity, and ecology within the arts. In your opinion, how are the main actors of the art market playing a role in the ecological struggle?
Veneta Gerganova at Figure 1.A. – THE ART OF SCIENCE, International Exhibition of Images from Scientific Research Projects, © Little Bird Place
Antoaneta Quick: Rossen, the owner of the gallery, is an avid nature lover and bird photographer, who had this vision for the space before meeting me. And since I'm also a huge nature appreciator and environmentalist, we connected immediately over our shared love. And combining it with art made so much sense, not only aesthetically, but also as a mission.
Through our nature-themed shows we aim to remind people of the global ecological and environmental issues, to increase awareness and to educate our audience through exposure and conversations.
Over the last two years there has been a noticeable shift towards online visibility within the art market. How have you included digital tools in your business model?
Even before Covid, we had the intention to have a strong digital presence, but the new world situation made this necessity even more urgent. We aim to maintain a strong online presence through our website, all the art platforms that we are part of (Artsper included) and different social media. Our other digital initiatives include online events, art lectures, 3D tours of all our shows, video interviews with artists and our own initiative Art@Home, which gives our customers the possibility to see how the artworks look at their home before they buy them.
You have had much success on Artsper. How has incorporating Artsper into your gallery’s visibility strategy helped you?
Lyuben Domozetski, Beyond the Canon, © Little Bird Place
We are part of other art platforms too but Artsper has been the most commercially successful for us, and thanks to its unique algorithm we manage to reach the right customers.