KUKER

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Original Painting - Mixed Media on Hahnemuhle 300gsm Paper (Hot Pressed) - 210x297mm - Unframed 

Inspired from the Bulgarian 'Bizzare Festival of Monsters', this painting has a modern twist.

A centuries old tradition for the men of the village is to dress as scary creatures and perform loud and threatening dances in order to scare away the evil spirits that come to earth in the first months (so called 'filthy months') of each new year. I am still utterly fascinated by the concept that to scare away something horrible you have to transform into something even more terrifying (hopefully just on the outside). 

Women were not allowed to take part in the past, however in modern days this tradition is changing. Performing KUKER dance requires a lot of stamina as the costume itself is quite heavy, including huge metals bells hanging from the waist that produce the evil-expelling sounds. 

The word KUKER could have derived from the Proto-Slavic word KUKA ("evil spirit") with the agentive suffix *-ařь (er) (i.e. literally meaning a "chaser of evil spirits").