2013 Towry best of East England award winner, Iva Troj seamlessly incorporates her vast experience of traditional painting techniques with postmodern elements to create engaging renaissance-style works that challenge the notion of societal conformity. Knowledge of traditional art techniques were first inspired by the necessity to fit within Cold War aesthetics of social realism. Alongside this, however, lay an acute perception of the reality existent beneath external structures:
“I’ve been told I have artistic talents since I was a little girl. The problem was I spent most of my time worrying about the meaning of it all. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, in the outskirts of Plovdiv. At times it felt like the whole place was full of violent men. My family was very strict, loving and protective of me so I managed to keep my head above water. I had to. I had talents and with talents came purpose, I was told.
Art confused the life out of me nevertheless. I searched for answers and inspiration in books and magazines, but they were all full of submissive naked women, always looking in mirrors combing their hair, getting ready for bed, being chased, seduced, on their knees, or laid bare everywhere possible. They all looked like dolls in a strange play that a man somewhere was directing. I so wanted to just go in there and change them all.”