The winner of this year's winner Konrad Mägi Medal is painter Ludmilla Siim. According to the judges, Siim was one of the brightest stars and artistic innovators of the 1970s, whose career in Estonia was interrupted when she moved to Finland in 1977.
The medal has been awarded annually since 1979 on November 1, the birthdate of Estonian painter Konrad Mägi (1878 -1925), in recognition of artists, whose works have significantly enriched the Estonian art world.
"When 'The Moment of Being,' the largest retrospective of Ludmilla Siim's work in Estonia to date, opened at the turn of last year, it was like the return of a long-lost daughter," said artist Jaan Elken, one of the judges who decided the destination of this year's prize.
Elken said, that Siim's exhibition was eye-opening in every sense. "These prizes could now give her a pedestal, and they're a kind of epilogue to that exhibition," he explained.
According to Elken, Siim's work in the 1960s and 70s synthesized hyperrealism and pop art, before going in a more abstract direction.
"From the '70s and '80s onwards, you can also talk about a shift towards abstraction. The subject matter, the artist's signature and her influences didn't change that much, but art historians like to categorize based on big isms," Elken said.
"As such, (Siim) is certainly visible as an abstract creator, and the aim of this major exhibition in Tartu was to glue these different epochs together, showing the works she painted in the former USSR alongside that from recent decades," Elken explained.
Editor: Michael Cole