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| THRAIX Group | est. 2017 | by Elisavetta V. Slavova | Ellie Slavova | Елисавета В. Славова
Ellie Slavova graduated from Penn State University and holds an MA in Medieval European History & Art History from The George Washington University & an MBA from INSEAD. Ms. Slavova's vision for Thraix is both simple and complex.
What Motivated You to Start Thraix Group?
Living in New York City, you see people who go to the opera to show off their wardrobe or wife – not because they are fans of Verdi! The same problem exists with art and the art market. The American market is over-saturated with people who want to buy someone’s work because of the hype or brand while having little to no understanding about what makes a certain artwork truly valuable. In Western Europe this occurs to a lesser degree. To see whether an artwork will go past trend to something more immortal, you need an expert eye. Bulgarian art is as soulful as it gets. My associates and I get it. We are dedicated to our art collection. Thraix should be more than an art dealer. In Bulgaria there are classically trained, technically superb madmen who create for themselves. There is a passion in Bulgarian art that translates into quality on the canvas. It’s a very Eastern European / Balkan trait -- that beautiful non-conformism which we want in art.
What Do You Want Thraix Group to Achieve?
Show the world the expressive beauty of Bulgarian painting. To give our painters the ability to break into international markets. Bulgaria was one of the most prosperous European nations at the turn of last century, with an educated urban elite, prosperous landowners in the provinces, and a sense of patriotism. This did not last long. Today “Balkanization” equals pejorative. Bulgaria is seen as a backwards nation mired in corruption. For the average person, it's an inaccessible place. Art can change mentality and mentality can mold reality. But I like the concept of a “wild East”, a dense, non-globalized wilderness of creativity!
Why Does Bulgarian Art Deserve a Wider Platform of Exposure?
Apart from my own idealistic ambitions, the answer is simple – Bulgarian artists are talented, their paintings are undervalued outside of the Balkans, and acquisitions can be affordable to foreign investors. It is a lucrative time for this market.
How Did Your Family Background Shaped Your Views on Art & Politics?
Growing up in Sofia, I was always surrounded by artists, writers, and other bohemian characters. It was a bit of a salon environment, right before the fall of Communism. I had these avuncular figures like Radoy Ralin | Радой Ралин | and Boris Hristov | Борис Христов | hovering about, close to my family, and so it was always an environment of questioning and provoking. And lots of humor in a time of uncertainty. My grandfather, the writer and dissident Atanas Slavov | Атанас Славов | was a key figure in fighting the Communist regime, alongside Georgi Markov | Георги Марков |. Recently, Bulgarian television aired a posthumous documentary aptly called: “Atanas Slavov: The Man Who Put Bulgaria on the World Map”. My grandfather knew the richness of Bulgarian culture and also the dangers of Marxism. My father, Vasil | Васил Славов |, a poet in his own right who won Bulgaria's most prestigious poetry prize in 2018, was blacklisted and suffered in Sofia when my grandfather moved to America in the 1970s. The regime was not forgiving. And it never had been forgiving. Several of my relatives were killed as enemies of the state after communism reared its head after WWII. Factories, properties, and businesses were confiscated. My grandfather’s father spent almost a decade in jail for his anti-communist leanings. Coming from this background, I can appreciate the need for pride in all things “Bulgaria”. But really, what we need is a spiritual pride. An artistic pride. There was so much disappointment with the Marxist experiment. And there was and still is so much disappointment with the hyper-capitalistic democracy which slithered in thereafter. The art of a nation captures its essence better than anything else. And it is the best therapy for these disappointments.