Daugavpils hosts the 17h International Painting Symposium “Mark Rothko 2021” Culture news

Daugavpils hosts the 17h International Painting Symposium “Mark Rothko 2021”

For the 17th time running, Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre holds the International Painting Symposium “Mark Rothko”, receiving nine artists from seven countries.

17 years ago, Daugavpils Fortress had no exhibition rooms or artist studios. The abandoned buildings were still waiting for their golden hour. But even then, this freshly demilitarised setting attracted creators who craved unconventional forms of self-expression, whether through semi-legal trance parties, clandestine treasure hunts or the first painting plein airs that bore the name of Mark Rothko.

As time went by, the space kept inspiring art whilst art kept filling the space, and now it is no longer possible to say what shaped what. But one thing is clear – the neighbourhood has changed, almost beyond recognition. Perhaps this very setting, with its exceptionally evocative ambience, once stirred artist Mark Rothko, this world-renowned native of Daugavpils, to embark on his dramatic creator’s journey. Or it may well be that Rothko’s biography can teach us to see the place through different eyes, perceiving more than just a sunset over the River Daugava or a wooded horizon. Be that as it may, the objective reality shows that Rothko’s art and the time spent in Daugavpils Fortress keep having a powerful impact on scores of present-day artists.

This is why Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, now occupying the former artillery arsenal of the fortress, is so excited to host the 17th International Painting Symposium “Mark Rothko 2021”. Grown from an outdoor plein air into an established symposium that attracts world-class artists, this annual event remains a singular time-space where art transforms the environment.

The closing exhibition of the Mark Rothko 2021 symposium will open on 17 September. On opening day, visitors will be able to see it between 4 and 7 p.m. Once the show is over, the new crop of symposium outputs will be added to the city’s growing art collection.


Symposium participants

Joanna Pottle (USA)

Amy Vensel (USA)

Kuba Janyst (Poland)

Arvid Boecker (Germany)

Barbara Nycz (Poland)

René de Rooze (the Netherlands)

Leon Phillips (Canada)

Andrew Smith (UK)

Māris Upzars (Latvia)



Daugavpils City Council, State Culture Capital Foundation, US Embassy to Latvia and Caparol Ltd.


Publicity photo:

Mark Rothko 2021 Symposium, work in progress (photo: Santa Suhanova)



Aivars Baranovskis


+371 65430273

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