Sirma Sarafova was born on 28 March 1937 in Sofia, the granddaughter of the famous Bulgarian actor Krustyo Sarafov. She graduated with honors from the National Art Academy in Sofia (1963), in the Painting class of Prof. Iliya Petrov.
Her first solo exhibition was in 1982. The exhibited paintings were described by art historian Kiril Krustev as “bodiless harmonies of color and linearity, so delicate and fine, they rival and surpass Japanese haiku poetry and the crystalline poems of Nikolai Liliev.”
In 2005 two canvases by Sirma Sarafova were included in the exhibition “The Window” in an exhibition at the Sofia City Art Gallery. The paintings’ abstract manner, minimalist compositions and delicate handling of color quickly made an impression, which prompted a surge of interest in an artist that, despite her long track record, had largely remained on the margins of Bulgarian artistic life. In the meantime, Sirma Sarafova never stopped painting, but her work remained hidden within the confines of her studio, due to the artist’s believe that painting as a deeply intimate and independent act that should be carefully protected.
Her second solo exhibition took place in 2006 at Sofia Press Gallery. It generated strong public interest which ushered in a new period in Sarafova-Orahovac’s work, which has since comprised of eclectic still lives that incorporate objects and souvenirs from different countries and cultures, serving as ironic commentaries on the globalizing world.
In 2016 SARIEV Contemporary following its strategy for identifying and rediscovering artists of substantial relevance presented the solo show “Objects and Illusions” by Sirma Sarafova-Orahovac, curated by Maria Vassileva. The exhibition “Objects and Illusions” included most recent works as well as works from previous periods in Sirma Sarafova-Orahovac’s artistic life, as well as a selection of objects that have been painted by the artist.
In 2018 was presented Sirma Sarafova-Orahovac’s most recent solo exhibition “New Works” in Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia. The exhibition consists of 8 new works and is organised by Credo Bonum Gallery and SARIEV Contemporary.
Watch a film about the artist here