Mission Statement


The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) is an international biennial with a European focus and a strong regional profile, founded in 2016. Taking the rich history of Riga and the Baltic states as its underlying framework, the Biennial highlights the artistic landscape of the wider region and creates opportunities for artists to enter into dialogue with the cultural, historical and socio-political context of the city and its geographic surrounds.


Taking into account criticisms of the proliferation of biennial culture, or ‘biennialisation’ as it has been called, RIBOCA aims to create a sustainable model based on best practices that prioritise artists, artistic production and the meticulous presentation and mediation of art. The Biennial is based on a working process that starts from the local, expanding to the national and the regional, and finally to the transnational. The Biennial aims to take root and make roots in the place where it is situated. Reflecting the biennial’s global outlook and mission to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world, a significant proportion of the commissioned and selected artists either live, work or were born in the Baltic region, a territory which still remains relatively unexplored despite its prolific artistic production.


RIBOCA sees itself as a critical site of artistic experimentation and knowledge production, an activator of co-operation and exchange between local and regional actors and institutions, an instigator of generosity towards peers, and a barometer of current social, political and economic issues filtered through artistic practices. The first edition of the Biennial will launch in June 2018. The Biennial has appointed Katerina Gregos as the Chief Curator of RIBOCA 2018.



Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA) was founded as a major initiative of the Riga Biennial Foundation, its commissioning body. The Founder and Director of the Riga Biennial Foundation, Agniya Mirgorodskaya developed RIBOCA in order to set up a new global platform for international and Baltic artists, to promote contemporary art and provide educational and community support within the region, as well as to increase artistic engagement between the Baltic region and the rest of the world.


Riga has been an important trading post since the Middle Ages, and in more recent history Latvia has served as a significant industrial base. Latvia’s historical relations with Sweden, Russia, Poland and Germany have put it at the crossroads of different cultures and ideologies, with its gaze shifting between East and West. RIBOCA charts the particular psychogeography of this region within the new world order at a time of major global shifts. 


Agniya Mirgorodskaya
Founding Director, Riga Biennial Foundation; Co-Founder and Commissioner, RIBOCA

Agniya Mirgorodskaya is the founding director of the Riga Biennial Foundation, the commissioning body of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA).

Agniya Mirgorodskaya got her BA in Hispanic Studies at the University of St. Petersburg, an additional BA in International Politics from London City University and her MA in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London and New York. Following her work experience at Christie’s Russian Department and commercial London art gallery Andipa, she decided to turn towards the not-for-profit sector. 

Being half-Lithuanian, half-Russian, Agniya developed the concept of RIBOCA as a biannual initiative to create opportunities for international and Baltic artists to engage with the city of Riga and the wider region. Commissioning an internationally respected curator and working in tandem with an international advisory board and growing team, Agniya, who speaks five languages, oversees the production of the biennial and is RIBOCA’s global ambassador. She lives and works in Riga.

Aleksander Gafin
Co-Founder, RIBOCA

Aleksander Gafin is a well-known cultural producer, with over two decades’ experience organising large-scale exhibitions and charity events. He is a member of several advisory boards including The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the American Pushkin Academy of Arts, the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Moscow Conservatory. Aleksander lives and works between Riga and Moscow. 

Emelyan Zakharov
Co-Founder, RIBOCA

Emelyan Zakharov is a fifth-generation art collector and gallerist in Russia, known for bringing leading international artists to new audiences and territories. He brings his extensive local and regional network to the biennial team. Emelyan lives and works between Moscow and Pietrasanta.


Katerina Gregos is a Greek-born curator, writer and lecturer based in Brussels since 2006. Gregos has extensive international curatorial experience and has curated several critically acclaimed large-scale exhibitions and biennials including: the Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Personne et les autres: Vincent Meessen & Guests; the 5th Thessaloniki Biennial, Between the Pessimism of the Intellect and the Optimism of the Will (2015); No Country for Young Men: Contemporary Greek Art in Times of Crisis, BOZAR, Brussels (2014); The Politics of Play for the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, with the overall title PLAY! Recapturing the Radical Imagination and Liquid Assets: In the Aftermath of the Transformation of Capital, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, as co-curator, (2013); Newtopia: The State of Human Rights, Mechelen & Brussels (2012). That year she was also on the curatorial team for Manifesta 9: In the Deep of the Modern, Genk. In 2011 she curated Speech Matters the acclaimed exhibition on freedom of speech for the Danish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial, and co-curated The Eye is a Lonely Hunter, the 4th Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwighsafen Heidelberg. In 2009, she curated Contour: the 4th Biennial for Moving Image, Hidden in Remembrance is the Silent Memory of our Future. Among other things, Gregos also curated the 2006 edition of EVA International, Ireland's Biennial of Contemporary Art, Give(a)way: On Generosity, Giving, Sharing and Social Exchange. Finally, this year she was also on the curatorial team for the project Uncertain States: Artistic Strategies in States of Emergency, Akademie der Kunst, Berlin.

Current and forthcoming projects include: A World Not Ours, Kunsthalle Mulhouse and Summer of Love, for the Schwarz Foundation (2017) and The State is Not A Work of Art, for Tallinn Art Hall, Art Hall Gallery and Tallinn City Gallery (2018).

Gregos frequently serves as a member of international juries, including more recently: the juries for the Finnish and Irish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale and the jury for the 2015 Hasselblad Prize. In 2016 she served on the jury of the Berlinale – the Berlin International Film Festival and the YAYA Prize – Young Artist of the Year Award for Palestinian artists, awarded by the A. M. Qattan Foundation.

Apart from her experience as an independent curator, Gregos has served as founding director and curator of the Deste Foundation’s Centre for Contemporary Art in Athens, Artistic Director of Argos Centre for Art and Media, Brussels and Artistic Director of Art Brussels.

Gregos is a graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art and King’s College (University of London) where she read Art History and European Literary and Historical Studies, as well as the City University London where she obtained a second MA in Museum Management. She regularly publishes on art and artists in exhibition catalogues, journals and magazines, and is a visiting lecturer at several art academies, including the HISK Higher Institute of Arts in Ghent and the Jan Van Eyck Academy, in Maastricht.


Anastasia Blokhina
Executive Director, RIBOCA

Anastasia Blokhina studied Journalism and Communication at St. Petersburg State University and graduated with honours.  She is an experienced cultural producer known for her work delivering large-scale visual arts projects across the world, within the museum, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. 

From 2011-2014 she was Director of External Communications at Erarta Museum and Galleries of Contemporary Art, the biggest contemporary art museum in Russia, with an outreach of galleries in different cities – Saint Petersburg, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong. At Erarta she was involved in the development of the whole organization from both the cultural and business side. From 2014-2016, Anastasia was Director of YAY Gallery in Baku, Azerbaijan, part of the Yarat foundation. In this position she worked on various local and international projects and organized exhibitions of gallery artists in New Delhi, India; Rome, Italy; Moscow and Perm, Russia; Dubai and Sharjah, UAE; and Paris, France. She worked with venues like Old Sorting Office and Louise Blouin Foundation in London, UK, and Leila Heller gallery in New York, USA. Anastasia has also been involved in Yarat’s project “The Union of Fire and Water” at Palazzo Barbaro at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Anastasia brings her international experience in project management, external relations and working with artists to the Riga Biennial, for which she is responsible for managing and directing all operations. She lives and works in Riga.

Olga Sivel
Biennial Coordinator, RIBOCA

Olga Sivel is renowned as a proficient coordinator and an independent curator, with experience in different art initiatives from managing the museum, contemporary art gallery or art festivals to the production implementation of the events.

Olga got her Specialist degree in Art History and Translation Studies (2010), and her MA in Linguistics (2015) from the St. Petersburg University of Humanities and Social Sciences. She began her career as the Head of Visitors’ Services at the Erarta Museum in St. Petersburg, the biggest contemporary art museum in Russia, and then two years later became their Global Galleries Coordinator, working across St. Petersburg, New York, London, Zurich and Hong Kong, to promote Russian contemporary art worldwide. She has experience in biennials, having worked at Manifesta 10, and art festivals, as a curator of Geek Picnic (2016) and launched YarkyFest and Art Prospect in 2015. She was a Curatorial Assistant and Head of Production for Francis Alÿs' first solo exhibition in Russia “Beyond the River: Afghan Projects 2010-2014” at the Sergey Kuryokhin Center for Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg, in 2015. Independent work in the not-for-profit sector includes the role of Development Director at APERTO Reading Room project (f. 2015), a library and research platform for contemporary art and as part of which a cultural newspaper, Aperto paper, that was launched in 2016.

Inese Dabola
Head of Communications, RIBOCA

With more than ten years of experience in communication, Inese develops communication strategies and supervises their implementation on a daily basis. She is the owner of Riga based communications agency HUGE.

Her extensive experience includes both commercial and non-commercial projects with BTL and ATL production. As a communication strategist, she has worked on campaigns and organised events for different local and global companies. Also she has initiated social corporate projects that have gained wide recognition and have fostered the development of new social movement. Other previous positions include working as the head of the marketing and PR department for the biggest media group in Latvia - Diena.

Inese was awarded the Baltic PR Award for her work. In terms of her personal interests, she is passionate about art and photography and has been the head of Photo Award of the Year since 2010.

Pelham Communications

Pelham Communications is an international visual arts agency delivering strategic brand development, media relations and digital development to key cultural organisations.

Based out of London and New York, Pelham have over twenty years’ experience in cultural communications, gaining specialist knowledge and valuable experience working with leading international artists, biennials, art fairs, charities, museums and not-for-profit foundations, collectors, galleries and foundations. 

Pelham have a team dedicated to digital and social media made up of specialists who cover strategy, marketing and content generation. The team at Pelham Communications work with a range of clients based in the USA, China, Ghana, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Baltics, Russia, Belgium, Turkey, Ireland, Finland and the UK.

The team is highly skilled at managing international projects on the ground. Working on a range of large scale projects including EVA International: Ireland’s Biennial, five national pavilions and six collateral events at the last four editions of the Venice Biennale. 

Solvej Helweg Ovesen
Associate Curator, RIBOCA

Solvej Ovesen is a curator and cultural studies theoretician (Master in Communication and Cultural Studies Roskilde University, Copenhagen University and Humboldt University of Berlin). She also completed the De Appel Curatorial Training Program in Amsterdam, 2003.

She is currently Artistic Director of Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2015-); Artistic/Founding Director of GROSSES TREFFEN at the Nordic Embassies (2013-); part of the Consortium of curators behind the exhibition by Kirstine Roepstorff in the Danish Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia - 57th International Art Exhibition, 2017. 

From 2003 to 2004 she worked as curatorial assistant at BAK – basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. From 2004 to 2006 she was curator at the Kunsthalle Friedericianum, Curator Workshop, Kassel, Germany. She has curated a number of exhibitions internationally including the 6th Werkleitz Biennial, „Happy Believers“, Halle (2006), the first Copenhagen Quadrennial: „U-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art“, Denmark (2008), 4. Fotofestival Mannheim, Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen „The Eye is a Lonely Hunter“, 2011, as well as the year long project “An Age of our Own Making” – a series of exhibitions with artists from East- and Westafrica, Asia and the Middle-east as part of the Images Festival 2016 in Holbæk, Roskilde and Copenhagen. She also curated the solo exhibition "The Inner Sound that Kills the Outer" by Kirstine Roepstorff (curated together with Agustín Pérez Rubio), MUSAC, Spain (2009) and the group exhibitions „Die Welt als Bühne“ at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, nbk, Berlin (2009–2010), „Never odd or even“ at Grimmuseum, Berlin (2011), and Museum for Contemporary Art, Roskilde (2012) and „Either/Or“ at Nikolaj Contemporary Art Centre, Copenhagen (2012) and Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2013).

Ioli Tzanetaki
Assistant Curator, RIBOCA

Ioli Tzanetaki is an independent curator, researcher and writer born in Athens and currently living in Berlin. She holds an MA in Art & Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London, a Postgraduate Diploma in Art History & Curating from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Exeter. Her work focuses on the relationship between art, politics, and social issues. In 2016, she worked as a curatorial fellow for ‘A World Not Ours’, an exhibition reflecting on the refugee crisis which took place on the Greek island of Samos. In the same year, she curated the exhibition ‘Eclectic Dreamers’ at Siegfried Contemporary in London where she also worked as a director’s assistant from 2015 to 2016. She co-founded the non-for-profit project ‘We Hybrids’ which consists of a series of collaborative workshops. Since 2013 she has co-organised various exhibitions such as Faces & Spaces in Box. Freiraum, Berlin in January 2017. She is a co-editor and writer at ‘Archipelago’ a printed and online journal aiming to nurture the relationship between Art & Politics. 

Elizabetes iela 19 - 6
Riga, LV-1010

Design: Wiedemann Lampe