Exhibition Duration: October 2, 2020 – November 28, 2020 

Virtual Opening Reception: Friday, October 16 @ 6:00 PM

Alfa Art Gallery invites you to the exhibition “Lifted” which features two prominent artists: John Hawaka and Vesselin Kourtev. Not only will this show exhibit the work of two skilled artists with prolific careers, “Lifted” is in honor and in memory of John Hawaka, and will celebrate his art and his life. This two – person show will also be a commemoration of the artists’ long-time friendship and their admiration for each other’s art work. “Lifted” will encompass a physical exhibition of Vesselin Kourtev’s work and a virtual exhibition of John Hawaka’s pieces, the latter of which we are excited to debut during our virtual opening reception on Friday, October 16th. 

As per our new normal as a nation, Alfa Art Gallery is proud to offer both artists and audiences this opportunity to take part in this virtual exhibition and celebration. We hope that you will join us for this retrospective look into the storied career and life of artist John Hawaka. This fully interactive, online experience will allow visitors to observe these pieces in the same manner as they would have in person at the gallery. Ardently put together by all of us here at Alfa and brought to you via ArtSteps, the “Lifted” virtual exhibition will run from October 16th through November 28th!   


Lifted: Vesselin Kourtev & John Hawaka Virtual Exhibition

  • Click on the images (artwork and graphics) to bring up an information text box (the “wall label”).
  • Click different areas of the floor to “walk” around. Footprints will appear on the ground to show where you will move to.
  • Click, hold, and drag your mouse to rotate or “turn your head”.
  • Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move forward, backwards, and side to side.


The Space Between Interactive Gallery



Featured Artists:  

John Hawaka began painting one day when he was forced to stay inside Kilmer Job Corps Center in Edison due to a snow storm. He picked up a paintbrush to pass time, and never put it down since then. Over the years he experimented with different techniques and mediums such as acrylics. Soon enough, he discovered his talent with rare lacquer painting techniques and became one of the few artists in North America who use them. Most of the time, Hawaka did not prioritize a specific subject for his paintings. First, he would choose a color and focus on the design. He typically preferred to paint vertically rather than horizontally. His inspiration arose from the classical and jazz music that would always be playing in the background.

Hawaka was a creative and prolific artist and many of his paintings and prints are in the collections of companies and private owners across the country. 

One of his paintings is even being used as the logo for The New Brunswick Jazz Project. Hawaka has also been part of many one-man shows such as: Rapid Graphics Gallery, DeLann Gallery, and Hyatt Regency Hotel. His top award would be the “Nature in Abstraction,” from Black Diamond Arts Council.













Vesselin Kourtev, the Founder and Artistic Director of the Alfa Art Gallery, was born in Bulgaria where he started his successful and international career in the arts. Kourtev has been described as a “unique neo-symbolist in abstract disguise” as his paintings often depict allegorical landscapes framing a relevant cause or interaction such as climate change or other environmental issues. He primarily works in oil paint and watercolors, which allow him to design illusionistic backgrounds to his narrative themes. Because he studied at a traditional art school and academy, he developed a unique and distinguished style.

Along with studying the work of old masters, Kourtev admires the art of ancient Egyptians and their architectural achievements. Kourtev has had many solo exhibitions since the Alfa Art Gallery’s founding in 2007. Prior to the opening of his own gallery, Kourtev was featured in various solo and group exhibitions throughout Bulgaria, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, France, Malta, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United States–specifically in New Jersey and New York. Many of his works are still featured by galleries and private collectors in the aforementioned locations.














Lifted Virtual Opening Reception

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