An exhibition of the nominated artists for the BAZA 2023 Award for Contemporary Art

Sofia 1000, 1 Gurko St., tel. 987-21-81,

Sofia City Art Gallery, Institute for Contemporary Art – Sofia, Edmond Demirdjian Foundation and Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation in partnership with: The Foundation for a Civil Society, New York, and the Young Visual Artists Awards international network present:

An exhibition of the nominated artists for the BAZA 2023 Award for Contemporary Art: 
Alina Papazova, Ivelina Ivanova, Kalina Mavrodieva, Martian Tabakov, Nikola Grozdanov, Veronika Desova, Viktor Petrov

Curator: Marina Slavova


25 July – 6 September 2023, opening on 25 July, Tuesday, 6 pm


The Young Artist Award was first established in 1990 in the Czech Republic by the founder of the Civil Society Foundation (USA), Wendy Luers, on the initiative of Vaclav Havel. Today, it exists in twelve Central and Eastern European countries, united in the YVAA International Young Visual Artist Awards Network ( The award consists of a two-month artist residency at Residency Unlimited, New York, and a solo exhibition at the ICA-Sofia Gallery. The award is sponsored by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York.

The BAZA Award in Bulgaria was founded on the initiative of Maria Vassileva in 2008 and is administered by the Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia and the Edmond Demirdjian Foundation. From 2021, the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation supports the nominated artists with funding for their projects.

The competition is open to artists up to 35 years of age. The jury, whose members are replaced every two years, selects between four and eight nominees. The exhibition of works by the selected artists is hosted by Sofia City Art Gallery. The winner is announced during the exhibition opening.

BAZA Award winners thus far include: Rada Boukova (2008), Samuil Stoyanov (2009), Anton Terziev (2010), Vikenti Komitski (2011), Leda Ekimova (2012), Kiril Kuzmanov (2013), Zoran Georgiev (2014), Aleksandra Chaushova (2015), Dimitar Shopov (2016), Martina Vacheva (2017), Martin Penev (2018), Valko Chobanov (2019), Maria Nalbantova (2020), Marta Djourina (2021), Krasimira Butseva (2022).

Members of the BAZA 2023 jury are: Eileen Jeng Lynch, Vasil Vladimirov, Dimitar Bojkov, Mariela Gemisheva, Maria Nalbantova and Martina Yordanova.


Kalina Mavrodieva was born in 1988 in the town of Troyan. She currently lives and works in Sofia. In 2014, she graduated with a master’s degree in Painting from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. In 2012, she specialised in painting at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy.

Since 2011, she has been presenting her work in solo and collective exhibitions and has been participating in curatorial projects. In 2015, Kalina Terzieva was awarded the Essl Collection Award in the ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2015 for her participation in the exhibition Diversity of Voices at the ESSL Museum of Contemporary Art in Austria. In the same year, at the invitation of curators Eugenia Kikodze and Antonio Geusa, she participated in the international exhibition Softnorm in the Artplay gallery in Moscow. From there followed the exhibitions: Caution: Wet Paint!, curators: Maria Vasileva, Daniela Radeva and Vladiya Mihaylova, Sofia City Art Gallery, 2015; Art Start, curators: Vessela Nozharova, Daniela Radeva and Stefka Tsaneva, Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia, 2018; Image and Likeness, National Art Gallery, Sofia and Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Contemporary Art, Tbilisi, 2019, etc.

In 2022, Kalina Mavrodieva presented the exhibitions After Oneself curated by Galina Dekova at Vaska Emanouilova/Sofia City Art Gallery and Steps in Memory at Kapana/ Plovdiv City Art Gallery.

At the beginning of this year, she started a creative residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Viktor Petrov was born in 1991. He grew up in Pleven, Bulgaria. He currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the University of Art and Design in Halle, Germany, as well as at the Berlin University of the Arts, where in 2021 he completed his studies under Prof Monica Bonvicini. His thesis was awarded the UdK Art Prize, the Ursula Hanke-Förster Award, as well as the Karl Hofer Scholarship. In his work he explores the relationship between the social, architectural and political bodies. His installations and sculptures reveal the dynamics of power inscribed in objects, structures and interpersonal relationships. Viktor Petrov's creative process is based on scientific study and is characterised by subtle humour and dedication to the material. The starting point of his long-term projects are the different types of structural violence and their banalised forms of manifestation in everyday life.

Nikola Grozdanov was born in 1988. He lives and works in Sofia. He studied Fine Arts at Glyndwr University, Wales, and in 2014 he completed a master's degree at the Department of Mural Painting at the National Academy of Art in Sofia.

From 2017 to 2021, he lived and worked on the island of Murano, Venice as a glass casting technologist and consultant at a glass art studio specialising in the production of artistic glass sculptures and creating a link between traditional Venetian technologies and contemporary art.

Nikola Grozdanov uses techniques such as stained glass, cast glass, fusing and screen printing. His works are socially and politically orientated, and use the basic properties of glass, its transparency and fragility.

Ivelina Ivanova was born in 1995. She is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sofia. From 2014 to 2017, she studied and lived in London, where she worked in the field of experimental animation and created several short films recognised by a number of international festivals. After returning to Sofia, she redirected her creative activities to real-time visualisations, video mapping and interactive installations. Since 2018, she has been part of the team of Formatic – a laboratory for digital arts and absorbing media. In 2022, she graduated with a master's degree in digital arts from the National Academy of Art in Sofia.

Alina Papazova was born in Sofia in 1993, where she currently lives. She works in the field of ceramics and illustration, experimenting with many other forms of visual art. She has a bachelor's degree in graphics and illustration from the New Bulgarian University in Sofia, as well as a master's degree in ceramics and porcelain, again from NBU, where since 2020 she has been a part-time lecturer and doctoral student in ceramics. Alina Papazova incorporates in her art elements that are symbolically influenced by different cultures, sometimes transformed in a humorous way. Placing herself in the context of their world, which is diametrically opposed to contemporary life, she explores the process of integrating them into her own culture.

Veronika Desova was born in 1994 in Varna. She currently lives and works in Glasgow, UK. In 2018, she received a scholarship to travel to Florence from the Royal Scottish Academy. This formed her artistic practice and directed her to explore the fields of painting, photography, sculpture and architecture.

Her works often focus on the inherent relationship between the spaces we inhabit and our bodies and the ways in which architecture and human figures can merge through the means of photography and painting. At the same time, Veronika Desova analyses the metaphorical parallels that can be drawn between the morphology of the two.

Her photography often focuses on the ephemeral and ethereal aspects of the human figure in motion, nature and light, through the use of slow and double exposure, blurring and a number of other methods of image distortion. Her painting practice depicts the process of patina accumulation in the form of paintings and textile installations through an abstract but highly haptic method of presentation that aims to interpret the texture of the surface of the skin (or facade) and its interaction with the environment and weather.

Martian Tabakov was born in 1992 in Sofia, where he lives and works. He is engaged in fine arts and works in the fields of sculpture, sound object, drawing and installation. He graduated in sculpture from the National Academy of Art in Sofia.

He is part of the BELKA creative space – a studio for sound and form, where he often presents his works in the form of open-door events or collective exhibitions. He has had solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous collective exhibitions in Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, France, Slovakia, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

He participates in theatre projects and is an active member of the post-punk band KAKE?.

He currently works with Plus 359 Gallery in Sofia.