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Ieva Epnere. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Photo report: The Purvītis Prize 2019! 0

Photos: Kristīne Madjare

On the evening of 12 April, in a festive ceremony at the arts centre “Zuzeum”, for the sixth time the most prestigious Latvian contemporary art prize Purvītis Prize 2019 was awarded to Ieva Epnere. The artist was awarded for “Sea of Living Memories” at kim? Contemporary Art Center. However, the prize for lifetime achievement was handed to the outstanding Latvian painter Džemma Skulme.

In her salutation the director of Latvian National Museum of Art Māra Lāce said: “This time I would really like to commend the choice of experts who worked for two years under the supervision of my colleague Astrīda Rogule. And thank you to the artists – you are the reason why we are doing all this.”

Art patron Jānis Zuzāns said that in his opinion, that the most important aspect and value of the prize is the documentation of art and time, that comes along. He also expressed his joy for the fact that for the first time there is a lifetime achievement award being handed out in the framework of the Purvītis Prize. It was awarded to legendary and outstanding Latvian painter Džemma Skulme. “Inexhaustible creativity and dedication to the common cause are two traits that describe the personality of Džemma Skulme almost in equal measures. Her career both represents the course of Latvian art since the mid-1900s and is the perfect comment on it: the era as a force majeure has left an indelible mar on her family history and on her own first foray into the art world,” says the reasoning of the prize.

Upon receiving the award, the 93-year-old Skulme revealed to the audience that in 1944 was the last time she has met Professor Vilhelms Purvītis: “I want to thank the great power that has let allowed me to experience the moments of past and the ways of my contemporaries, as well as to experience all these newcomers to the art world, especially these eight nominees for the Vilhelms Purvītis Prize. I am also very grateful for the fact that I am receiving this award – quite unexpectedly, and I would like to thank to those people who have been helping arts in its development.”

Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia Dace Melbārde in a solemn statement said: “For more than 10 years the Purvītis Prize has been forming waypoints for a road that is created by the live and continuous process of Latvian contemporary art. In the 21st century it is a great privilege to stop and lock yourself in the spell of the moment. This is the feeling that we have at the waypoint that we call the Purvītis Prize. In this road of art, it is not so easy to surprise with a fresh view and innovative art language, yet there are artists who succeed. We see today that the prestige and interested of the Purvītis Prize is ever-growing.” At the end of her speech Dace Melbārde expressed congratulations to all the nominees and to the first life achievement laureate Džemma Skulme, as well praised the ability to attract an international jury to the award.

An innovation to Purvītis Prize 2019 is also a viewer’s sympathies award, provided by the “Delfi” internet media. Ieva Epnere was recognized as the audience’s favourite artist.

Before awarding the main prize, the director of the international art collection at Tate, Gregor Muir was invited to the stage: “I have been completely humble by seeing many of the artists on stage, in the audience and among us. And thus I am reminded that it’s not easy to be an artist. I am incredibly grateful to have been among the seven jury members, we’ve had an extraordinary experience. I think that there is an incredible power to art, it changes things and will always do. Art is a human quality and it is very important to never loose that.”

As she climbed on the stage, the artist Ieva Epnere was barely able to hold her tears of joy and first thanked her daughters and family. Saying her words of gratitude, the artist invited her creative team on the stage and paid special tributes to her curator Zane Onckule and the entire kim? team. In the end Ieva Epnere added: “I would very much like to encourage to promote a young generation artists award too! Thanks to the jury and the experts who led me to the final eight.”

The members of the international panel of judges who decided on the winner of the Purvītis Prize 2019 were Māra Lāce, director of Latvian National Art museum; Jānis Zuzāns, Chairman of the Board of “Alfor” Ltd., the main financial supporter of the LNMA; Galila Barzilaï-Hollander, an art collector from Belgium; Ursula Krinzinger, the owner and director of Galerie Krinzinger; Imants Tillers, Latvian born Australian artist and art theoretician; the director of the international art collection at Tate Gregor Muir; curator, art historian and critic Sergey Khachaturov.

The joint exhibition of all the Purvitis Prize finalists – Ēriks Apaļais, Ieva Epnere, Kristpas Epners, Gints Gabrāns, Romāns Korovins, Paulis Liepa, Rasa and Raitis Šmits and the Textgroup Orbīta will be on view at the Latvian National Museum of Art until 9 June.

Latvian minister of culture Dace Melbārde and nominees for the 2019 Purvītis Prize

Latvian National Museum of Art director Māra Lāce

From left: Sergey Khachaturov, Gregor Muir, Galila Barzilaï-Hollander, Una Meistere, Daiga Rudzāte, Ursula Krinzinger, Imants Tillers

Rasa and Raitis Šmiti

Jānis Zuzāns

Ēriks Apaļais

Sergey Khachaturov

Juris Žagars

Gregor Muir. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Imants Tillers. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Indriķis Ģelzis, Alise Ģelze

Romāns Korovins

Kaspars Vanags

Zane Čulkstēna

Edgars Vērpe

Sandra Krastiņa

Māra Lāce, Jānis and Dina Zuzāni

Gints Gabrāns

Katrīna Neiburga

Astrīda Rogule

From left: Ainārs Ērglis, Una Meistere, Daiga Rudzāte, Ģirts Muižnieks

Evija Vēbere

Lilita and Valdis Zatleri

Auguste Petre, Helmuts Caune

Kristaps Epners, Ieva Epnere

Dina Zuzāne, Džemma Skulme, Imants Tillers

Dace Melbārde

Džemma Skulme

Ieva Epnere

Ieva Epnere, Kristaps Epners, Gints Gabrāns. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Valda Podkalne

Līna Birzaka-Priekule

Romāns Korovins. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Ēriks Apaļais. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Vladimirs Svetlovs. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Rasa Šite, Raitis Šmits. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Paulis Liepa. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Kristaps Epners, Ieva Epnere. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Aigars Bikše. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

From left: Vilnis Štrams, Zane Čulkstēna, Vita Liberte, Armands Broks. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Anna Salmane, Krišs Salmanis. Photo: Jānis Romanovskis

Solvita Krese

Odrija Fišere

From left: Alise Careva, Anastasija Blohina

Helēna Demakova

Zaiga Gaile

Ritums Ivanovs

Sandra Krastiņa, Ieva Iltnere

Galila Barzilaï-Hollander

Dina Zuzāne, Māra Lāce, Galila Barzilaï-Hollander, Ursula Krinzinger

Viktorija Fomenko, Sergejs Timofejevs

Laima Slava

Režisors Čī and Agnese Čivle

Kristians Brekte

Kristians Brekte, Alise Podniece, Helmuts Caune

The Purvītis Prize was founded as an initiative of the Latvian National Museum of Art with the support of Alfor Ltd. company, the patron of the museum, in the early 2008. The prize is awarded biennially to an artist or a group of artists rated the highest by a panel of judges. The objective of the Latvian National Museum of Art in founding a new visual arts prize was to gather regular and systematic information about the latest visual arts events in Latvia, promote development of new projects and original ideas, and acknowledge the best achievements in Latvian professional visual arts.