Fake Plastic Trees: The Photography of Biliana Velkova

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Tartooful is honoured to once again host acclaimed local artist Biliana Velkova and her most recent series as a part of the 2016 Capture Photography Festival.

Fake Plastic Trees presents Velkova’s wry observations on the branding and commodification of nature.  She romanticizes, exaggerates, and complicates the exploitation of nature, referencing tourist tropes found throughout the Saskatchewan prairies and Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

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Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Velkova lived under the Communist regime until immigrating to Canada in 1991 at the age of fifteen.  Her memories of communism have deeply impacted the way in which she perceives the “West”, leading her to explore issues of capitalism, appropriation, and Western femininity.  Although her interdisciplinary practice focuses on social and political issues from a devastatingly accurate, critical perspective, her delivery is optimistic, witty and affectionate.

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From iconic, fake palm trees found throughout Saskatoon to the majestic views of Lake Louise, Velkova’s cinematic photographs celebrate opulence and kitsch.  The glossy images of fake plastic trees create a spectacle from everyday encounters.  Through her Bulgarian lens, Velkova offers a fresh and alternative way of viewing and interpreting the Canadian landscape we thought we knew.

“When an outsider comes to a new place, he sees the picturesque and the freakish, whereas the local sees through layers of emotion and memory” – Walter Benjamin.

Fake Plastic Trees by Biliana Velkova is now showing at Tartooful until April 28, 2016.  Please join us at the gallery for the Opening Celebration, 8th April, 2016 from 7pm.

C.