26 June 2023

Winners of the STRABAG Artaward International 2023

Courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International
Winners of the STRABAG Artaward International 2023
Courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

The STRABAG Kunstforum has just announced the main prize and the four recognition awards of the STRABAG Artaward International 2023.

The STRABAG Artaward International is one of the most highly endowed private art prizes for painting and drawing in Austria: A main prize and four recognitions with prize money totaling 35,000 are awarded annually. The international art award is announced for artists from varying countries. Between 2021-2023, artists from Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria were invited to participate. From more than 700 applications, 5 artistic positions have now been awarded. 

The winners of STRABAG Artaward International are chosen by a jury of international experts, who serve a three-year term. The jurors, who are drawn from the countries eligible for the prize, compile an initial shortlist based on materials submitted online, in a preliminary online judging process lasting several weeks. The artists selected are invited to submit original works for the final judging process. At the jury meeting in April, original works submitted by the artists selected are discussed, and the main prizewinner and the four winners of recognition prizes are nominated.



Barnabás Bencsik, Galerist and Curator, Budapest/HU
Vladimír Beskid, Director, Ján Koniarek Galerie, Trnava/SK
Goschka Gawlik, Art critic and Curator, Vienna/AT
Roman Grabner, Curator, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz/AT
Vít Havránek, Video chancellor for international relations, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague/CZ
Edith Raidl, Art collector, Wien/AT
Tanja Skorepa, Head, STRABAG Kunstforum, Wien/AT
Wilhelm Weiß, Founding Director, STRABAG Kunstforum, Wien/AT

Team des STRABAG Kunstforum und Jury: Johanna Pröll, Roman Grabner, Edith Raidl, Sebastian Haselsteiner, Vladimír Beskid, Tanja Skorepa, Barnabás Bencsik, Vít Havranek, Julia Schuster, Wilhelm Weiß, Alexandra Hois, Goschka Gawlik, Vanessa Bersis. Foto: Eva Kelety, courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

In 2023, Jósefina Alanko, a Polish-Finnish artist, received the main prize.

From material to immaterial and back again, the vital force of Jósefina Alanko’s works lies in change. Her techniques involve acrylic painting and simple materials like textiles, paper, sand, and glue. These familiar elements are transformed into nameless instruments in the artist’s hands, re-emerging as complete and recognisable artworks. Listening to the material is imperative. That makes it possible to understand the subject matter, which is strongly influenced by a combination of Alanko’s personal experience, reality and the subconscious. Varying textures engage the sense of touch. The scent of the materials can conjure up memories, while colour and shape create notions of physicality. The sense of intimacy intensifies when the artwork’s protruding surfaces compel the observer to share the space with it. In Jósefina Alanko’s recent works, feminine pouches are formed on canvases that project outwards. They reference and explore femininity and motherhood (spiritually and physically), a connection with nature, and the concept of matriarchy. The opaque pouches create a sense of safety and care, for they conceal what lies within. They hide the unknown inside their recesses – says Mateusz Krain.

Józefina Alanko, courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International
Winners of the STRABAG Artaward International 2023 from left to right: Jósefina Alanko, Peter Cvik, Samira Homayouni, Liza Libenko, Grzegorz Siembida, photo: Eva Kelety, courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

The recognition awards were given to Peter Cvik from Slovakia, Samira Homayouni from Austria/Iran, Liza Libenko from Czech Republic, and Grzegorz Siembida from Poland.

Peter Cvik (b. 1985) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. He is known for his compelling exploration of deserted landscapes, incorporating architectural and industrial elements into his artwork. Cvik’s unique style captures the eerie beauty of abandoned spaces, offering a glimpse into forgotten worlds. His masterful use of perspective, texture, and colour creates a sense of mystery and intrigue in his paintings. Cvik’s art transports viewers to a realm where time stands still, allowing them to contemplate the relationship between man-made structures and nature’s reclamation. His work serves as a powerful reminder of the transience of human existence.

Peter Cvik, photo courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

Samira Homayouni is a visionary artist who pushes the boundaries of portraiture. Her individual and original approach to the genre of portraiture convinced the jury. Born in Zanjan in 1986, the artist grew up with the Iranian- Islamic pictorial tradition, in which depiction of human beings is not permitted, and portraits per se do not exist. With a unique technique, she paints non-visible portraits using photographic chemicals. Homayouni’s art delves beneath the surface, exploring the intangible aspects of human identity and emotion. Through her skilful manipulation of light and chemistry, she captures the essence of her subjects, revealing their innermost thoughts and feelings. Homayouni’s captivating portraits invite viewers to contemplate the complexities of human existence and the invisible threads that connect us all.

Samira Homayouni, photo courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

Liza Libenko‘s work explores the hauntingly beautiful depictions of war’s brutality and devastation. Through her paintings, Libenko captures the emotional and physical toll of the conflict, conveying the resilience and vulnerability of the human spirit. Her art serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of war, calling for empathy and understanding. With a keen eye for composition and masterful use of colour, Libenko’s works evoke a sense of both sorrow and hope, leaving a profound impact on viewers.

Liza Libenko, photo courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

Grzegorz Siembida is an artist whose paintings reflect a post-history era. Siembida’s works are characterised by layers of meaning and disrupted imagery, challenging conventional notions of representation. Through his abstract compositions and skilful use of colour and texture, he invites viewers to question established narratives and explore the complexities of contemporary existence. Siembida’s art sparks dialogue and contemplation, visualising the fluidity and diversity of truth in the modern world. 

Grzegorz Siembida, photo courtesy of STRABAG Artaward International

The competition entries from all five award-winning artists are presented in a dedicated award exhibition at STRABAG Artlounge (16.06.-18.08.2023). Beginning in October 2023, each of these artists will present a solo exhibition at STRABAG Artlounge and have an opportunity to combine this show with an artist’s residency at the STRABAG Artstudio.


ArtistJósefina Alanko, Peter Cvik, Samira Homayouni, Liza Libenko, Grzegorz Siembida
Place / venueArtlounge at STRABAG Haus

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