By Cynthia Vera

The 17th of May saw lockdown restrictions being lifted as per the UK government’s four-step roadmap to get us out of lockdown. As we begin to integrate ourselves with the life we once used to know, one that wasn’t limited to our homes, occasional trips to the supermarket and the park, all art enthusiasts of London can finally enjoy museums and galleries once again.
London Business Magazine took the chance to get inspired by visiting South Kensington’s Smith and Partner Gallery (S&P), for the exhibition of international artist Daniela Raytchev. She believes art is about  “honesty and sharing our stories with each other”, and her heart beats for supporting survivors of sexual abuse or rape.

Though the art industry suffered during the pandemic and ramifications of lockdown without sufficient financial support, artists and organizations prevailed. Using their creativity and tech-savvy innovation to reach art lovers worldwide, gallery leaders created virtual exhibitions and online resources for people to still enjoy art from the comfort and safety of their own homes. However, with the easing of lockdown measures, people have been given the opportunity to experience and immerse themselves with the artwork they had been deprived of for so long.

With spring in full swing, provided London has been overwhelmed with a spell of rain and grey clouds looming over our heads, London’s post-lockdown art scene breathes new life into our city. One of the artists at the forefront of London’s art scene is Daniela Raytchev, a Slovakian-Bulgarian contemporary artist currently residing in London. She uses her personal experiences and observation of human relationships as a continuous source of inspiration for her work. The self-proclaimed “observer of the human condition and relationships” turned heads on May 20th at her solo show which showcased her original work.

With Raytchev’s recent partnership with S&P Gallery, the exhibition took us on a journey through the artist’s older pieces dating back to 2014 and new works alike. The exhibition had a retrospective feel that transported you to the different stages of her career.

Reflecting on the sentimental nature of her work, Daniela says that art should be about “honesty and sharing our stories with each other”. Though she studied Fashion Design, her creativity led her to art as her main form of expression. She notes that it allowed for more “conceptual freedom” in exploring themes that are an integral part of her personal experiences and interpretations of what she witnesses from interviews with participants for her projects.

Whilst her artwork is colourful in nature for a playful approach, bursting with bright hues of yellow, blue, and green, Raytchev aims to capture real emotions and stories. Artistically “addressing the social stigmas” placed upon mental health, trauma, and sexual violence, she is a voice that celebrates strength and empowerment.

Bringing her technical capabilities to South Kensington, from paint on canvas, acrylic to sculptures, the artist’s impressive and dynamic portfolio encourages an open conversation. Raytchev’s philosophical values don’t stop with just her artwork. Using her creative career, the artist partnered up with independent charity, Safeline. The charity provides specialist and tailored support for survivors of sexual abuse or rape. As an ambassador since August 2020, Raytchev has worked with Safeline to promote the wellbeing of survivors; and helped give them a space to feel empowered and take back control of their life and choices.

So, Londoners and art lovers, as we all cautiously fill up our planners for post-lockdown activities to enjoy, start by visiting S&P Gallery to immerse yourself in Daniela Raytchev’s solo show. Whilst the weather might be lacking colour on most days, Raytchev’s artwork makes up for it with a splash of bright and playful hues that breathe a new into London’s art scene.
Just remember to bring your mask!

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