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NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The leaureates of the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2023 and ISSP award “Seeking the latest in photography!” have been announced. The main award – a chance to hold a personal exhibition next May in Riga, ISSP Gallery – goes to the Lithuanian artist Ieva Baltaduonytė.

The special prize from the Lithuanian independent publishing initiative “NoRoutine Books” – the opportunity to publish a photo book goes to the Latvian artist Armands Andže. The laureate of the monetary prize of 1000 euro and the opportunity to spend a month working at the residency “PAiR” in Pārvilosta, Latvia, awarded by the foundation “VV Foundation” has been given to the Latvian artist Anna Dzērve. Five of the contest finalists will present their work at the exhibition opening and along with other five top-rated contestants will have a chance to participate in the portfolio review of the RPB – NEXT 2023 programme.

The goal of the award “Seeking the Latest in Photography!” 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 award for the young Baltic artists is presented in the framework of the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT (RPB – NEXT) programme since 2016.

Ieva Baltaduonytė,  from the series „Uprooted”, 2022

Commenting their choice for the main award, the jury says: “In an ongoing photographic work “Uprooted” (2022-), the Lithuanian artist Ieva Baltaduonytė thoughtfully engages with complex ripple-effects of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Working with Ukrainian female refugees in Lithuania and using a humanistic style of photography in an exploratory way, she brings to light unphotographable trauma of forced displacement and war-related PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). It results in a memorable reminder of a universal importance of empathy in a time of crisis.”               Five of the contestants – Ieva Baltaduonytė (LT), Ieva Maslinskaitė (LT), Kristīne Krauze-Slucka (LV), Līga Stibe (LV), and Hedi Jaansoo (EE) – were nominated to present their works during the exhibition opening. 10 of the top rated finalists – including also the Latvian artists Elīna Ruka, Anna Dzērve, Rūta Kalmuka, Elizabete Eglisnka and Armands Andže – will get a chance to participate in the RPB – NEXT 2023 portfolio review for the professionals free of charge.

Armands Andže,  from the series „29 landscapes”, 2022.

Cash prize of 1000 EUR and the opportunity to spend a month in the artist residency “PaIR” in Pāvilosta, Latvia, given by the foundation “VV Foundation” was awarded to the Latvian artis Anna Dzērve for her work „I’m glad he died”. “The author has transcended her personal experience in the language of art, through which the viewer can recognize many contexts prevailing in the modern era, such as the issues of women’s rights, the Foucaultian panapticon principle of total observation and the imprisonment of society, the presence of the absurd phenomenon of physical and emotional violence in the course of the entire evolution of humanity. The works are visually powerful and multi-layered, revealing the human body’s relationship with itself and the society that consumes it and where it fits into. And also, these works stimulate the imagination, they ask questions and look for answers, but – now in the personal life experience of each viewer,” they comment their choice.

The Lithuanian independent publishing initiative “NoRoutine Books” awarded their special prize to the Latvian artist Armands Andže who will get a chance to publish their own photobook. He took part in the competition with his series “29 landscapes”.

Anna Dzērve, from the series „I’m glad he died”, 2021

The winners were determined by an international jury comprised of the founder of the “BZH Photo” festival and coordinator of the “Photo Days” event in Paris Camille Gajate (FR), art critic, historian and curator Adam Mazur (PL), artist, professor and Head of the Photography Department at the Estonian Academy of Arts Marge Monko (EE), artist and curator Paulius Petraitis (LT) and artist and teacher Ieva Epnere (LV).

The winners of the RPB 2016 award “Seeking the Latest in Photography!” 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). In 2019, the award was received by Annija Muižule (LV). In 2021,  Visvaldas Morkevičius (LT) became the winner, and he also received the first award presented by the “VV Foundation”. The winners of the “NoRoutine Books” award were Ieva Balode (LV) in 2016, Madara Gritāne (LV) in 2018, Reinis Lismanis (LV) in 2019 and Kristīne Krauze-Slucka in 2021.

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 RPB title 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. Every other year, the festival holds the programme NEXT that focuses on young and promising artists from the Baltics, Nordic countries and Europe who are still in the early stages of their careers. The RPB – NEXT offers visibility and provides a platform for promising young artists from the Baltics, Nordic countries and Europe and helps to announce themselves to a wider audience and context. The NEXT festival edition taking place in spring 2023 is to be the fourth edition of the RPB – NEXT programme. Read more on: www.rpbiennial.com

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, 13 k-3 Marijas Street, Riga, ISSP has made its mark on the cultural map as the only space in Latvia dedicated to contemporary photography. Read more on: www.issp.lv