The American Foundation for a Civil Society manages the Young Visual Artists Awards international network (YVAA). This international fellowship award program has so far been launched in ten European countries, which annually award an artist a travel fellowship to the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York. Bulgaria joined the program in 2008 on the initiative of Maria Vassileva, establishing the BAZA Award under the auspices of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia. The annual exhibition of nominated works is hosted by the Sofia City Art Gallery, which takes exclusive responsibility for the exhibition’s organization, thus continuing the tradition of presenting young artists within the “Meeting Point” program. The BAZA award comprises a six-week travel fellowship to New York and a solo exhibition at the gallery of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia. The first three BAZA award winners are: Rada Boukova (2008), Samuil Stoyanov (2009) and Anton Terziev (2010).
BAZA award applicants traditionally present a portfolio of completed projects and works presented at otherexhibitions, yet a decisive factor in choosing the winner is the quality of the work presented at the nominees’ exhibition. Nominees may participate in the exhibition with a showcase of projects completed in the past, yet, it is often the case that the exhibition triggers the development of new projects, specially completed for the event. More than 120 artists have applied for the award so far, 21 of whom have been nominated.
In 2011 the BAZA Award will be presented for the fourth time. The works featured in the exhibition belong to the genres of painting, interactive and spatial installations, objects, video, photography.
Members of the 2011 jury are as follows: Iara Boubnova, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Svetoslav Kokalov and Daniela Radeva.
The BAZA award winner for 2011 is Vikenti Komitski