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“Dora Gabe” Exhibition

100 National Tourist Sites

Dobruja – a plain of the sun, the steppe wind, wheat and sunflowers, of the “ancient oaks” – guardians of the field; sacred Bulgarian space where past and present, reality and myth meet. This land gives birth not only to the bread of Bulgaria, it also gave birth to a “self-wild woman of grain” – Dora Gabe. Do we try to see the poetess somewhere out there in the expanses of Dobrudzha, in that “once upon a time” that she herself nostalgically remembers later, as if we hear the clatter of horses and a yellow cabriolet appears on the dusty road, and on it stands a young , a girl just returned from abroad; or the same girl with big sad eyes, elegantly dressed, walking through the narrow streets of Dobrudja to the school where she taught French at the beginning of the 20th century.

Indeed, our present-day idea of Dobruja interweaves two names at once: of Yovkov and Dora Gabe. They are one of the most significant symbols of this ancient land. Therefore, it is no coincidence that they are sheltered under the same hospitable Dobruja roof – at the “Yordan Yovkov” Memorial House in Dobrich. In addition to the already confirmed exhibition about Yovkov, today the visitor can also see an exhibition about the poetess, opened on August 26, 2003. The coexistence of the two great authors creates the special atmosphere in this cultural center. The unifying link of the two expositions is the theme of Dobrudja – its fate and its people. Both Yovkov and Dora Gabe draw creative juices from this fertile, “good” land.

Their works provoke us to think about her, to see her with our soul – a plain that can speak. This is also the main concept of the exhibition “Dora Gabe” – to present the poet’s life and creative connection with her native Dobruja. For Dora Gabe, this is the sacred land of childhood: with the ancient oaks, with the father’s house, with the dog waiting in the yard, with Mom’s guitar and Dad’s books. At the same time, however, Dobrudja is also the great pain, it is the native corner, forcibly torn from the body of the Motherland. The land of her childhood became her life and creative destiny.

Decided in violet – Dora Gabe’s favorite “decadent” color – through its predominantly glass, original moving constructions, the exhibition makes an attempt to materially illustrate, to present through forms and colors the rich, diverse and delicate soul world of the poetess. The basis of the exhibition is the creative activity of Dora Gabe: writer and poet for adults and children, translator and public figure, intellectual and teacher of younger people. Therefore, the exposition does not completely follow the cliché “life and creative path”, but is rather literary-historical. Although it is difficult to escape from chronology, and it is even more difficult to open the doors of the mythological. The exhibition is conventionally divided into several thematic cores: Dora Gabe and Dobruja, birthplace and family environment, works for adults – original and translated, works for children .

The first thematic core is located in the center of the exposition, as it presents its leading theme: Dora Gabe and Dobruja. It shows the poet’s civil position on the so-called Dobrudzhan issue. For decades, in her works, in the press, at international writers’ meetings, she defended the cause of returning the unjustly taken South Dobrudja to Bulgaria. And when this happened in 1940, Dora Gabe was one of the first writers to enter the newly liberated lands with the Bulgarian troops.

The second thematic core introduces the poet’s family environment: the father – the great public figure and businessman Petar (Peysach) Gabe, and the mother Ekaterina Duel – an artistic woman and folk healer. The museum public has the opportunity to see a large part of the author’s books of the father, as well as an aristocratic black suit of the mother. The memoir “Once” – “small psychological studies in poetic form” (Vladimir Vasilev) is also presented here, through which the poet returns to the magical world of childhood, from which she draws images and inspiration throughout her life. The third thematic core presents Dora Gabe as poet, writer and translator. Her creative longevity is a prerequisite for a truly versatile literary activity.

Particularly important for us are the outlined literary dialogues: Dora Gabe – Yavorov, Dora Gabe – Boyan Penev, Dora Gabe – Yordan Stubel, Dora Gabe – Vazov, Mara Belcheva, Yordan Yovkov, Elisaveta Bagryana; Kasprovich, Slovatsky, Nezval, Fedin, Yanis Ritsos and many others. etc. A large number of books and literary dedications “talk” about these fruitful creative contacts. The first edition (1908) of the first collection of poems by a woman in Bulgaria – Temenugi – is also very valuable, as well as other books of high museum value. The last thematic core presents Dora Gabe as a children’s writer. On display are her Christological texts, books through which everyone returns to their first children’s poems and stories – truly “golden books” for children and adults. The exhibition panels are also enlivened by Iliya Beshkov’s remarkable illustrations from Dora Gabe’s book “From an Elephant to an Ant”. The museum audience can also touch the poet’s office and thus feel somewhat the atmosphere in her cozy Sofia home.

The two ancient icons, as well as Dora Gabe’s carefully selected personal belongings, also contribute to this. Quite purposefully in the exhibition, this everyday moment is maximally narrowed, reduced to the most general illustration of the material world of the writer. Although Dora Gabe’s archive in the “Yordan Yovkov” Memorial House still contains a number of items, photos, books and other materials that are presented on certain occasions, the concept of the exhibition does not tolerate a predominance of the material, the everyday over the spiritual, over what reveals the creative nature and literary activities of the poetess.

A large part of the exhibits in the exhibition came to the museum as donations. The main donor is Violeta Peneva – translator and niece of Prof. Boyan Penev, thanks to whom the exhibition has many valuable books of the poetess and items from her home. The gesture of the Union of Bulgarian Writers, which parted with Dora Gabe’s office and the two valuable icons from her home, to donate them to the museum in Dobrich, is also noble.

The support of the poetess Elka Nyagolova was great – the first winner of the “Dora Gabe” literary award, who bought and donated Dora Gabe’s typewriter and her belongings; of the Lady Rotary Club – Dobrich, which provided the funds for the purchase of Ekaterina Duel-Gabe’s suit; to Vulkan Shopov, who donated autographed books by the poetess to him, and to other citizens and organizations. Without such generous donations, not only this exhibition, but also other museum events would not be possible.

The authors of the “Dora Gabe” exhibition are convinced that the poet has truly “become immortal”, that she is truly “a peer of all generations”, that very delicately and today she teaches us to be dignified people and citizens, to be able to be subtle, but also to defend our positions boldly, to gain the wisdom to enjoy every moment of life, to look for beauty and always strive for it . Because maybe we should be able to live with the utopia of the beloved author Dostoevsky, that “beauty will save the world”.

Work time:
winter working hours 1.10-30.04: 8.30-12.30 and 1.30-5.300; days off Saturday and Sunday;
summer working hours 01.05-30.09: 9.00 – 13.00 and 14.00-18.00;

Entrance tickets:
Entrance fee for the site: adults – BGN 3.00, children, schoolchildren, students – BGN 1.00, family ticket – BGN 4.00.
Entrance fee within the tourist route: adults – BGN 6.00, children, pupils, students – BGN 2.00, family ticket – BGN 10.00.
Entrance fee for participation in educational programs – BGN 2.
Lectures: in Bulgarian – 5.00 BGN, in a foreign language – 10.00 BGN.

address: Dobrich, G.Gurko St. No. 4

Phone: 058/ 602 213, 0884311492.

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