On September 21, 2023, at the Art Academy of Latvia (LMA), the "SEB Painting Scholarship" was presented - this year, the SEB scholarship and the audience's sympathy award were received by the young artist Katrīna Biksone.

Katrīna Biksone graduated from the LMA painting specialization in the bachelor's program this year and is currently studying in the LMA master's program in the POST specialization. As part of the Erasmus program, she has expanded her knowledge at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts. Katrīna regularly participates in group exhibitions and other projects, working with oil techniques and incorporating installation elements into her works. Her recent projects and works are dedicated to exploring themes and problem-solving, emphasizing continuity and a serial approach. Katrīna's solo exhibition "Paukotāja istaba" at the LOOK gallery is currently nominated in the Latvian public media's "Kilograms of Culture 2023" autumn vote.

Along with the award, the SEB scholarship laureate receives a cash prize of 2000 euros and a funded visit to a Contemporary Art fair in one of the European Union cities, along with a creative workshop.

At the award presentation, the rector of LMA, Kristaps Zariņš, addressed the competition finalists and attendees: “Overcoming the resistance of a blank canvas is a challenge for both a beginner and an experienced painter. Presenting your work for public scrutiny, anticipating both constructive criticism and potentially contentious public opinion, is a challenge. The award in the final is adrenaline to overcome obstacles and reap laurels.”

Ieva Tetere, the head of SEB Bank, continues: “Art as a science and form of expression undoubtedly aspires to inner autonomy and independence, but it is only in interaction with the environment and the perception of the people around us that it reveals its deeper essence. The viewer is not just a distant observer, but also a driver of the artistic process. Any evaluation, just like any critic's opinion, shapes the artist's inner world, so it is a great satisfaction that with the SEB scholarship we can promote the creative path of young and talented artists, providing support that doesn't confine, but quite the opposite – encourages experimentation. We wish that the future activities of the artist Katrīna Biksone will always strive for a dialogue with the audience, whether it is the search for new common ground or a respectful confrontation of creativity and ideas.

"Katrina Biksone's works exude confidence that the young artist is aware of her desires and works ambitiously enough to realize them. Her previous activities leave an impression of deliberate progress, contextual perception, and understanding of current painting techniques. A balanced approach and attention to detail encourage thinking about the author's ability to organically integrate into the active context of Latvian and international professional art. This is also evidenced by the unanimous decision of the jury and the sympathy vote of the audience," adds independent curator Auguste Petre.

This year, eight artists competed for the SEB scholarship in painting: Katrīna Biksone, Alīna Burlakova, Laima Daberte, Madara Freidenfelde, Linda Jākobsone Viškere, Gunta Lante, Ivars Pommers, and Laura Veļa.

The decision on which artist to award the scholarship was determined by the established jury of the competition: LMA Vice-Rector Professor Andris Vītoliņš, SEB Private Banking Manager Elīna Piebalga, Head of the LMA Painting Department Kristians Brekte, LMA Project and Development Department's Exhibition Coordinator Inese Rozentāla, curator Auguste Petre, painter Jānis Šneiders, and the 2013 SEB Scholarship laureate Klāvs Loris.

The exhibition of the finalist works can be viewed until October 7, 2023, in the LMA atrium. Exhibition hours: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri. 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, 13 Kalpaka Boulevard. Admission is free.