igor zabel award for culture and theory 2022

Bojana Pejić, art historian, art writer, and curator is named this year’s Igor Zabel Award Laureate. Igor Zabel Award 2022 Grants go to Oksana Briukhovetska, Alina Șerban, and Antonina Stebur.

This year’s ceremony presenting the 2022 Igor Zabel Award and Grants recipients, happened on 18 November at 20:00 CET in Cukrarna Gallery in Ljubljana. The main event was accompanied with the international conference So Close: Ecologies of Life and Death, which took place on 17 November in Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, and online. 

Foto: Nada Žgank

Watch the recap this year's Igor Zabel Award programme here



The 2022 Igor Zabel Award jury awards Bojana Pejić (born in Belgrade, 1948, based in Berlin) for her lifelong research into the constituent elements of Eastern European art and culture. 

Her writings, and particularly her complex international exhibitions such as After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (1999–2001) and Gender Check: Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe (2009–2010), have had worldwide impact, critically marking our understanding of art during state socialism and also providing critical analysis of post-socialist culture after 1989. Pejić orchestrates transnational teams or works alone as she surveys what Eastern European countries have in common, and how their art makes visible the history, nationalism, and gender politics. Her understanding of Eastern Europe transcends ideological pictures of an oppressed and underdeveloped East. She explores its many cultural histories, treating them not as derivative products of Western exemplars, but as heterogenous and specific, and having their own unique importance. What’s more, her writings and exhibitions generate conclusions that are valuable beyond Eastern Europe: they provide lessons on art, society, and power structures relevant to audiences around the world. Bojana Pejić is an art historian and also an activist for whom academia is never sufficient. She compels us to reread our past in order to change our common future.

photo: Sveta Janać
photo: Sveta Janać



This year’s Igor Zabel Award Grant recipients are:

Oksana Briukhovetska, artist, curator, and art writer (Kyiv / Michigan, USA) for her outstanding contribution to the artistic and activist life in Ukraine and beyond; her work triggers processes of democratization under the most demanding circumstances and raises feminist awareness.

Alina Șerban, art historian, art writer, curator, and editor (Bucharest) in recognition of her exceptional research and ability to create self-managed organizations and platforms that bring together Central and Eastern European researchers and cultural workers.

photo: Dan Vezentan / New Folder Studio
photo: Dan Vezentan / New Folder Studio

Antonina Stebur, curator, art writer, and researcher (Minsk, currently living between Poland and Germany) in recognition of her extraordinary power of resistance, commitment to decolonize Belarusian art, and her belief that art is a practical instrument of political imagination.

photo: Eugenia Babskaya
photo: Eugenia Babskaya



2022 jury: Marta Dziewańska (philosopher and curator, Kunstmuseum Bern) • Ahmet Öğüt (artist, Berlin / Amsterdam) • Tomáš Pospiszyl (art historian and curator, Prague)

2022 nominators: Luchezar Boyadjiev • Olga Chernysheva • Anetta Mona Chisa • iLiana Fokianaki • Dóra Hegyi • Inga Lāce • Lena Prents • Kate Sutton • Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu • Klara Kemp-Welch


The award has been conferred biennially since 2008 in cooperation with the initiator of the award, ERSTE Foundation (Vienna), and the Igor Zabel Association (Ljubljana).