In 2009 Amateras Foundation began a dialogue with Irish artist Tommy Barr about the cultural heritage and the relations between the forebears of the two countries – the Celts and the Thracians.
The idea about the project came from Daniela Todorova, a keen scholar of solar cultures across the world and central to part of her work. The similar quests of the authors in a sphere that approximated the two ancient cultures actually conditioned the development of the project. Both civilizations shared the cult of the Sun and the Great Mother Goddess. The project shed light on a little known fact: in ancient times, a student of Orpheus, the well-known Zalmoxis, found himself in Britannia where he acquainted the Celts with the ancient Orphic mysteries. This has been described in numerous studies and books on Celtic culture and the druids in Ireland and the United Kingdom (see Druid Mysteries: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century by Philip Carr-Gomm).
The project featured three exhibitions in the period 2009 – 2011, while also aiming to provoke researchers from the two countries to probe further in their studies about the unknown relations between the two cultures. On the sidelines, the programme included lectures by Bulgarian and Irish historians and archaeologists. Celtic and Thracian Symbols contributed to the study of the visual culture and symbolism of Celts and Thracians, which proved much closer than assumed previously.
Curator: Daniela Todorova
The project Celtic and Thracian Symbols was implemented under the patronage of His Excellency Emil Yalnazov, Ambassador of the Bulgaria to Ireland.
The above-mentioned events in the two countries were held in Sofia and Dublin:
• Exhibition “Thracian and Celtic Symbols”, exhibition space at James Ussher Library, Trinity College, Dublin (February 9th – March 9th).
• Exhibition “Symbols”, Atrium of the Ministry of Justice, Dublin (June 31st – July 25th).
• Exhibition “Thracian and Celtic Symbols” and lecture “Practices and festivals for the Irish New Year’s Eve” by Clodagh Doyle, curator in the National Museum of Ireland, Sredets Gallery, Sofia (December 2nd – 10th).
Amateras Foundation, Todor Todorov and Daniela Todorova extend their gratitude to Tommy Barr for the joint participation.
Amateras Foundation is extremely grateful to all institutions, structures and spaces that supported this project:
Ministry of Culture, Bulgaria;
National Culture Fund, Bulgaria;
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria;
Ministry of Justice, Ireland;
Ministry of Tourism, Ireland;
Embassy of Bulgaria to Ireland;
Embassy of Ireland to Bulgaria;
Department History of Art and Department Slavic Languages, Trinity College, Dublin;
Sredets Gallery, Ministry of Culture, Bulgaria;
Exhibition Space at James Ussher Library, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.