In 2013 the Soros Foundation–Latvia and Isaiah Berlin Association organised postcard design competition “I am Isaiah Berlin and I Come from Riga” to mark the day of Isaiah Berlin, philosopher and historian of ideas, in Riga on 9 October 2013. Young artists, design professionals and other creative enthusiasts were invited to participate. The competition lasted from 26 July until 9 September 2013.
To participate in the competition a participant had to prepare a competition work – a sketch of postcard design, using one of I. Berlin’s insights, selected by the organisers:
1. Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience. (Isaiah Berlin)
2.Choosing is hell. (Isaiah Berlin)
3.Life is not worth living unless one can be indiscreet to intimate friends(Isaiah Berlin)
4.The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds(Isaiah Berlin)
5.Why be clever? It is a much overrated attribute. (Isaiah Berlin)
6. Life can be seen through many windows, none of them necessarily clear or opaque, less or more distorting than any of the others.
7. Self-understanding is man’s highest requirement. (Isaiah Berlin)
8.The need to choose, to sacrifice some ultimate values to others, turns out to be a permanent characteristic of the human predicament. (Isaiah Berlin)
9. Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an inalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human. (Isaiah Berlin)
10. Principles are not less sacred because their duration cannot be guaranteed. (Isaiah Berlin)
The total of 85 creative works by 46 artists were submitted for the competition. The jury – the executive director of the Soros Foundation–Latvia Andris Aukmanis, the head of Isaiah Berlin Association Robert Cottrell and the director of the Latvian Contemporary Art Centre Solvita Krese selected three best works, the audience selected the recipient of the audience’s award by voting. The jury, having assessed the representation of I. Berlin’s ideas and the artistic quality of works, awarded the first prize to the young artist Toms Burāns and his work “Choosing is Hell”. The jury noted that the created design cannot be given unequivocal assessment; it foregrounds a number of questions, moreover, every person sees something different in this work, something of his or her own. It was exactly this wish to ask questions and to discuss that lead to the jury granting this work the first place.
The second place was given to Kaiba Narbute and work “Self-understanding is man’s highest requirement”. Members of the jury highly esteemed the creative idea and its artistic implementation, which was an excellent reflection of the chosen quote and attracted audience’s attention.
Anda Mendriķe and her work “Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience” ranked as the third. The work earned the high assessment because of the artistic representation of the chosen idea and the symbolisms used in the design.
The audience award went to Džeina Rimša’s work “Life can be seen through many windows, none of them necessarily clear or opaque, less or more distorting than any of the others”. It received the total of 255 votes on the social network Facebook – 208 “Likes” and 47 “Shares”.