Actress Irina Maleeva hosts the first U.S. exhibition for Bulgarian artist Anna-Maria Nikolova in West Hollywood

The award-winning 12-year-old Nikolova debuts her bold and vibrant paintings on July 19, 2018 inspired by love, tragedy and the excitement of Life

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA June 25, 2018 — Acclaimed Bulgarian/Italian actress Irina Maleeva — known for a lifelong body of film, stage and television work — is hosting the first-ever U.S. exhibition of bold and colorful paintings in acrylics and oils by 12-year-old Bulgarian artist Anna-Maria Nikolova. It was in her native Sofia that Nikolova had her first one-person exhibition of 30 paintings in 2017 — an exhibition which resulted in a feature story in the May 2018 Bulgarian edition of OK! magazine. And it is hard to imagine that six years earlier in 2012 that a six-year-old Nikolova won a silver medal at the International Children’s Art Exhibition in Japan after only one year of painting in a style that was recognized early on as being color-filled and expressive. Early on in her journey into painting, Nikolova was discovered as a “young Expressionist” by the great Bulgarian artist and art collector Svetlin Rusev. And more recently, her painting Grandpa Dobri was accepted by the renowned Saatchi Gallery in London and is part of a permanent digital exhibition.

“Not only is Anna-Maria an accomplished artist for such a young age, but she is also talented in ballet, singing and her second love — acting,” notes Maleeva who first met Nikolova and her family in the summer of 2017 and has been a champion of her artwork ever since. “Her painting about the tragedy of September 11 in New York City is particularly emotional — especially since she wasn’t even born yet. I feel she has a very old soul in the body of a young girl. She sees the worries of the world and they show through her paintings.”

One quickly notices that many of Nikolova’s paintings are rendered in dark colors and with intensely-applied strokes — a palette and technique not often associated with youth. “My friends ask why I don’t use more lighter shades in my works,” she says, “but that is my way of expressing my feelings about tragedies and bad news such as September 11 and the passenger airplane that was shot down in the Ukraine and news about prisoners and so many other world events. I paint these things not so much as to remind people about them, but in order to share my hope that they will never happen again.”

Nikolova’s particular style of painting was been winning praise from many around the world, including that of actress and writer/director Pavla Ustinov. She says, “Her sense of composition is brilliant and her choice of colors is amazingly mature. I am extremely impressed!”

Of interest is the fact that Nikolova looks to such artists as Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet as role models — artists known for their bold gestures and distinct color palettes. “I do not think too much about the ‘rules’ when choosing colors,” she points out. “Sometimes I even have the feeling that I don’t know exactly what I am painting. But it is the best way to express my thoughts, feelings and emotions.”

The July 19 artist reception is being held at the Circa furniture showroom in the heart of the West Hollywood Design District — a unique venue that has hosted many art and cultural events over the years, including a retrospective show for legendary “big eyes” artist Margaret Keane years before Tim Burton’s 2014 film Big Eyes appeared in theaters.

Nikolova is available for interviews either prior, during or after the reception. After the 19th, the exhibit will be available for viewing by appointment until July 26.

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