NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

On Friday 10 November 2023, the Young Painter’s Prize art competition (YPP) has marked its fifteenth anniversary and held the award ceremony which was followed by the opening of the YPP finalists’ group show in the Museum of Applied Art and Design. This year, the main prize went to the Lithuanian artist Agata Orlovska . In his address to the participants of the competition, the YPP jury member Mr. Laurent Le Bon – art historian, the President of the Centre Pompidou, Paris – has highlighted that YPP is particularly significant today because it not only demonstrates the abundance of talent in the young contemporary art scene all across the Baltic states and Ukraine, but also provides the young artists with the encouragement and material support which are crucial when pursuing an international career.

The winner of the main prize was announced along with the other two young talents who have won the complementary awards. “The special prize for Youth Empowerment” has been presented by Luminor Bank for the second year in a row, and this year it went to Latvian artist Andris Kalinins. Meanwhile the “Rooster Gallery Open” prize of honourable mention went to two artists: Lithuanian artist Viltė Čepulytė and Latvian artist Jūlija Šilova.

YPP as an annual reflection on the current generation of artists

When talking about the many young painters he has had a chance to meet throughout those last fifteen years, the YPP’s co-founder Vilmantas Marcinkevičius has mentioned that their work always seems to embody the most current artistic trends, reflect the Zeitgeist, reveal the generational concerns, and express the topics the young artists are most preoccupied with.

“From the very start, in the works of the young talents we could see the distinct brush stroke styles and palettes, and the uniqueness of their gaze. Soon enough YPP has expanded beyond the Lithuanian borders to welcome the artists from our neighbouring region. We have witnessed the stylistic and thematic range across the Baltic region, and have learned about our cultural ties and differences. The young painters themselves were the first to recognise the importance of this competition as they soon experienced the benefitial impact it has had on their careers. It is particularly enthralling to see the painters once ‘discovered’ by YPP are now successfully fulfilling their painterly vocation,” said V. Marcinkevičius.

Artwork by 15th YPP winner Agata Orlovska

YPP as a launching pad for the international recognition

Tallying up all the young artists the YPP competition has introduced over the fifteen year period, the YPP organiser, art historian and curator Julija Dailidėnaitė-Palmeirao said the number totals to around a thousand. Furthermore, over a hundred art professionals art historians, art theorists, gallerists, the directors of the great European museums, established contemporary artists, and collectioners from all over the world have served as YPP’s jury members.

“Many of the YPP participants and winners are now collaborating with successful art galleries, curators are inviting them to various shows, collectioners are buying their art. This project has given birth to many heartening success stories. From what I have seen while working with YPP during all these years, it has been and remains a key art world event in our region. I am now taking this opportunity to announce that, after fifteen years spent with YPP, this year is going to be my last. I am leaving the project in the good hands of my colleague Vilmantas Marcinkevičius who no doubt will uphold the fine traditions of the competition,” said Dailidėnaitė-Palmeirao.

Special mention – Rooster Gallery Open prize won by Jūlija Šilova

This year, the YPP’s final competition involved 15 young artists: Agata Orlovska, Gintarė Kondė, Viltė Čepulytė, Jonas Motiejus Meškauskas, Šarūnas Baltrukonis, Felicija Dudoit, Neda Naujokaitė, Julija Skudutytė Benjaminas Ančeris, Raminta Stasaitytė, and Armine Hayk Sargsyan (all from Lithuania); Andris Kaļiņins, Jūlija Šilova and Katrīna Biksone (Latvia); and Gerda Hansen (Estonia). Continuing the exception from the previous year, the YPP competition was also open to the Ukrainian artists who currently reside in the Baltic region.

By bringing together a strong team of art professionals from all over the world, the organisers of the YPP competition aim to expose the young artists to the widest possible artistic context. For its anniversary year, the YPP project had the following members in its international jury: L. Le Bon (Director of the Centre Pompidou, France), Arild H. Eriksen (the Director of Nordic Artists Centre Dale; Norway), Monika Furmana (artist; Lithuania), Arūnas Gelūnas (artist, philosopher, Director of the Lithuanian Art Museum; Lithuania), Liisa Kaljula (Painting Collection manager at Eesti Kunstimuuseumi; Estonia), Māris Vītols (contemporary art collector, curator; Latvia), and Vita Zaman (artist, poet; Lithuania).

More opportunities and open doors for the YPP winners

This year’s YPP winner has been awarded with the 5,000 Euro cash prize, a two month residency at the Nordic Artists Centre Dale in Norway, and an opportunity to host a solo show in Pamėnkalnio Gallery, Vilnius. The YPP winner’s artwork will be added to the Lithuanian National Art Museum’s painting collection, currently stored at the National Gallery of Art.

“The Prize for Youth Empowerment” prize winner’s artwork will be bought Luminor bank and later sold in an auction. The auction proceeds will be donated to the psychological support line “Jaunimo linija”. The winner of the “Rooster Gallery Open” prize of honorary mention will have the support and expertise of the professional team of gallerists while organising their solo shows in Vilnius.