NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

From August 3 until September 20, 2020, young artists from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are invited to submit their work for the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2021 Award “Seeking the Latest in Photography!”. The award winner will be offered a solo exhibition at the ISSP Gallery in Riga in April 2021. The gallery will also host the RPB award ceremony.

The goal of the award is to discover and appraise the creative efforts of young artists who demonstrate the power of the image in their works, offering an original point of view and conceptual depth reflecting our current times. The Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT is seeking portfolios of artists who stimulate discussion and offer diverse ideas. At the same time, we wish to provide a public platform for young artists at the beginning of their creative journey in photography or a medium associated with it, so that they can present themselves to a wider audience.

Who can apply?

The competition is open to emerging artists and photographers from the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – provided that the work they are entering in the competition was created within the last three years.

Selection process and jury

The winner of the prize will be determined by an international jury comprised of Saara Hacklin (FI), curator at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art; Valentinas Klimašauskas (LT), curator, writer and curator of the 14th Baltic Triennial; Adam Mazur (PL), art critic, art historian and curator; Elena Vaninetti (IT), curator and editor at YET Magazine; Audrey Hoareau (SZ), artistic director of Photo Basel; Lura Toots (EE), Curator and project manager of Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) and Evita Goze (LV), artist, curator, journalist and ISSP Gallery representative.

The award winner will be offered a solo exhibition in April 2021 at ISSP Gallery (Berga Bazārs, Marijas iela 13 k-3, Riga) within the framework of the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2021 programme. The jury members will nominate five finalists (including the winner) who will present their work at the exhibition launch and ten finalists who will be granted the opportunity to participate free of charge in the NEXT 2021 programme portfolio review. Gytis Skudžinskas and Vilma Samulionyte (LT), the founders of NoRoutine Books, will select one of the participants for their own award – the opportunity to publish a photo book.

Application procedure

1. Applicants must fill in an application form, indicating their date and place of birth, current residence (if it differs from their postal address), information about their project and an outline of their creative biography, which must include their education and creative experience.
2. Applicants must submit 10–15 photographs (artwork created in the past three years, or a project still in progress). Works must be in JPG format, and the size of an individual file may not exceed 1000 px on the longest side. The size of an individual file may not exceed 1.5 MB. The images must be marked with: first name_ last name_number in order, for example, “anna_straume_01.jpg”.
3. If the overall size of materials to be submitted exceeds 20 MB, then the works must be sent via wetransfer.com to the address balva@rpbiennial.com.

Dates for submission and further process

August 3 to September 20, 2020 – acceptance of submissions
October 5, 2020 – 15 applicants are notified to take part in the second round
November 2, 2020 – the winners are announced
If the project selected for the final is still in the process of being finalised, the finished project must be submitted by January 8, 2021.

Exhibition preparation

The organisers of the award will contact the winner to coordinate preparation and transportation of the work to be exhibited. The artist is responsible for packaging and preparing the work to be transported. After the exhibition has closed, all exhibited work will be returned to the address indicated by the artist. Transportation costs to and from the exhibition will be paid for by the organisers. If required, expenses relating to preparing the work for the exhibition will also be reimbursed.


In submitting their works to the competition, participants agree that the Riga Photography Biennial, ISSP Gallery and third persons will be allowed to use those works, without payment, to advertise the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2021 as well as the award, and the work may be used in publicity materials connected with the biennial and the award. Copyright remains with the respective artists.

The Riga Photography Biennial (RPB) is an international contemporary art event focusing on the analysis of visual culture and artistic representation. The term ‘photography’ in the title of the biennial is used as an all-embracing concept encompassing a mixed range of artistic image-making practices that have continued to transform the lexicon of contemporary art in the 21st century. The biennial’s off-year programme, titled NEXT, focuses mainly on young and promising artists from the Baltics, Nordic countries and Europe who are still in the early stages of their careers. The Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT offers visibility and provides a platform for promising young artists to announce themselves to a wider audience and context. The third edition of the NEXT festival will take place in spring of 2021.

ISSP is a platform for contemporary photography that is based in Latvia and operates internationally. Since its establishment in 2006, ISSP has been fostering an active photography scene in Latvia, educating the young generation of artists and promoting international exchange. With the opening of the ISSP Gallery in Berga Bazārs, Riga, ISSP has made its mark on the cultural map as the only space in Latvia dedicated to contemporary photography.

The winners of the RPB 2016 Award were Vika Eksta (LV), Andrejs Strokins (LV) and Alissa Nirgi (EE). The 2018 winners were Diāna Tamane (LV), Taavi Suisalu (EE) and Kristīne Madjare (LV). The 2019 winner was Annija Muižule (LV). The winners of the NoRoutine Books award were Ieva Balode (LV) in 2016, Madara Gritāne (LV) in 2018 and Reinis Lismanis (LV) in 2019.

Image: Solo exhibition by the winner of the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2019 Award ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ Annija Muižule ‘Joyful Businessmen Having Fun in the Office’ at ISSP Gallery. Photo: Ansis Starks

Gallery name: ISSP Gallery

Address: Berga Bazārs, Marijas iela 13 k.3, Riga

Opening hours: Tue, Thu-Sat 12:00 - 18:00, Wed 12:00 - 20:00

Open: 03.08.2020 - 20.09.2020