Anna-Alexandra’s passions are myriad, but at the core of her gifts is her compassion and empathy for mother earth. Finding inspiration in history - from language and culture to art and religion, Anna-Alexandra is a mother, creator, poet and an artist. Her humanitarian ancestry is at the heart of who she is, whether for people or mother earth, Anna-Alexandra believes in the intrinsic connection that we share. We took a walk through history with Anna-Alexandra, exploring her extensive talents and strengths.
Born in Sofia and based in Mallorca, tell us a little bit about growing up in Bulgaria? How is it different from Spain and what do you miss most about it?
Bulgaria is a very beautiful country with amazing nature. The culture is interesting and authentic, bearing features from Europe and Asia. (We have a strong influence from Turkey due to their long historical presence in Bulgaria). My parents were very young when they had us and certainly raising me and my sister was a challenge for them, especially in a time of social and economic crisis after the fall of the Socialist Regime in the 1990s. Тhere were turbulent times in which my father lined up in long lines for bread and milk to feed us. Nevertheless, my memories are very warm and beautiful from my childhood.
The contrast with Mallorca is very tangible, starting with the climate and culture through to the political and social context. Mallorca is a very multicultural and rich island, offering many opportunities for professional development in my field and a great quality of life. What I miss the most is the language, I miss the lyrics of songs, I miss the word for the mountain, I miss the word for the sky. As Heidegger said - “Language is the house of being.” The rest is geography.
You have studied ancient language, culture, anthropology and philosophy, how does that influence your art and poetry? Which artist's work has resonated with you the most?
My work is inspired by mythology, philosophy, anthropology and poetry, which is the fundament of my exploration. Sometimes, when I'm reading a scientific text, I imagine how some ideas can be transmitted with the instruments of artistic expression. For this reason, I would say that my work as an artist is much more inspired by intellectual concepts than by visual examples.
If I have to refer to some visual framework, I am influenced by primitive and ancient art and by the primordial female figures. Мatisse and his sense for composition, colours and shapes also inspire me. I like his personality, he has a special delicacy and aristocracy. I really like one of his thoughts - ‘creativity takes courage.’ Creativity requires the courage to experiment, the courage to make mistakes, the courage to look for an authentic voice, the courage to sound silly sometimes but to sound like yourself.
Many of your works centre around the female image, feminine energy and its mysterious connection to nature. Where did this passion stem from?
Probably the fact that I grew up in a family of biologists in combination with my humanitarian background, arouses this strong interest in the primary female figure. I think that the more I delve into the study of different cultures, religions and ancient languages, the more I realise that they are all connected by the idea of nature as mother, as an eternal cycle, as the soil from which things germinate. The constructive, giving birth, and inspiring force is always a ̈woman ̈.
You are very passionate about poetry and a poet yourself, who is your favourite poet? Would you share a short poem or exert of a poem with us that you wrote?
I have many favourite poets and it is difficult for me to choose. I really like T.S.Eliot (“The Four Quartets”, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, “The Waste Land”), Wallace Stevens ( “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction”. I like ancient Greek poetry. I'm in love with this miraculous new translation of Sappho's fragments “If Not, Winter" from the poet and classicist Anne Carson.
Here are two of my poems:
I’m scared of the apple rotten,
I’m scared of the apple rot.
I’m scared of the seed not seeding
Carrying death within the pod.
The blossom of the stars will wither.
Gross to see the unripe fall,
And when the skin is reddened thither
The zenith-autumn fills it all.
The overripe drops down to dust
Its wounds are turning into song.
The soil smells vividly of jasper
With mildew lace to go along.
In late summer branches -
Bared by the birds
Stones, stems and leaves
Beyond the child’s reach.
Being from Byron Bay, we absolutely love, cherish and respect our oceans, we understand that you are also a water woman. Is this what led your decision to move to Mallorca, especially with Sofia being so far from the sea?
I love the idea of being “a water woman”. Yes, I am definitely strongly attracted to the sea and the longer I live next to it, the more I feel this connection. The sea inspires me because it is inexplicable, infinite, uncontrollable, beautiful ... just like life is.
You married quite young, had your first child quite young and sadly went through divorce quite young. What was that like for you? How did you overcome this obstacle in your life?
I do not regret anything that happened, I think one can only regret the moments when they did not follow their heart. The experiences I have had are precious and are a part of me, making me who I am today.
At Auguste, we are so passionate about highlighting incredible working mothers and all mothers that make it work, with many of the women in our team being working mothers themselves. How do you make it work and continue your career as a model, artist and poet?
Тhere have been many challenging moments for me as a mother and I think it is difficult for awoman to be devoted to her child and her work at the same time. I think that’s normal to have periods dedicated to the child and moments in which you can return to your work. I was lucky enough to have a loving partner who supported me in my artistic pursuits. Elia appeared when I was newly divorced, alone with a small child, and he had a heart big enough to accept both of us. His care, attention and love helped me to grow as a person and also as an artist. At the end of the day, we all need love to blossom.
You are a big believer in humanism and empathy being at the heart of everything and your grandfather was on the board of scientists with the UN. Did he heavily influence this outlook you have? What is one of the lessons he taught you that really stayed with you?
Yes, I truly believe that humanism and empathy are the heart of everything.
My grandfather had a very strong influence on my attitude towards nature and my views on itssignificance and our connection to it. Тhis has helped me develop an approach of attention, understanding and kindness to everything around me. Оnce, when we were children walking in the woods with our grandfather, he asked us if we knew which is the largest living organism in the world. My sister and I answered -“Тhe whale" and he said - “No, it's not a whale”. The largest living organism is the forest, the root system of the forest, stretching for thousands of kilometres. An intelligent system, similar to the nervous system, through which trees transmit nutrients and send signals. That's how everything is connected on this earth.
You looked absolutely gorgeous in Auguste, what was your favourite piece from the collection and why? What do you love to style your Auguste faves with?
I really love the Omera Mini Dress, Jacqueline Teal Maxi Dress and the Paisley Jacquard Mini. All three dresses suit my style on the island. Being light and ephemeral, they go very well with the typical Mallorcan baskets.