Awards and Medal Winners Results

OCAD University announces the results of the Awards and Medals program. 

GradEx 102 attracts record crowds

Group of medal winners with Chancellor Kiki Delaney and President Sara Diamond
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cool, rainy weather did not stop more than 45,000 people from attending this year’s Graduate Exhibition from May 3 to 7. Over 10,000 visitors attended opening night, where they explored the work of some 900 graduating students.

In her remarks on opening night, Dr. Sara Diamond, president and vice-chancellor, OCAD University, commented on the remarkable contribution of its 2017 exhibitors: “Our graduates can become the highly qualified problem-solvers and creative makers that our diverse and complex world needs. Art, design and design thinking represent an approach — a way of enhancing everyday life based on expanding our capacity to imagine, to consider challenges from every angle and to produce tangible results. These are fundamental tools needed to resolve the grand challenges of the 21st century.” 

In the midst of opening night festivities, OCAD U medal winners were honoured by their families, friends and special guests at Celebrate Excellence, a private reception celebrating their accomplishments. Guests paid tribute to 22 medal winners, who are masters of technique and creativity while also being high academic achievers.

Elisha Lim, a graduate medal winner for Criticism and Curatorial Practice, reflected on the inspiration of her fellow medalists in her speech: “I’m proud to stand amongst my fellow graduates because all of us are skilled and talented, but what sets us apart and makes us OCAD’s medalists is our determination to use our education in service of a better future.”

Undergraduate medal winner for Advertising, Justin Platnar, spoke poignantly about his ambitious plans, as a teen, to attend OCAD U:  “Every week I dreamt that, someday, I could go to school in that magical box in the sky… So here I am, all these years later, surrounded by the most talented and encouraging individuals that I’ve ever had the good luck to meet.”

The whirlwind five-day exhibition ended with a delightful visit by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, for a special tour. OCAD U’s GradEx 102 also raised over $10,000 through visitor donations.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos. 

 

Poster: 
Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell and Sara Diamond
Women talking in front of banners of medal winners' work

History of Violence II

Nedham
Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - 4:00am to Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 4:00am

LE Gallery in Toronto is pleased to present new works from Amanda Nedham, the 2008 OCAD Printmaking Medal winner. Exploring history through image, Nedham's work explores and disrupts the traditional linearity of history through a method of integrating both analog drawing and digital printing. Through a process of abstraction based on the collaging of drawings, largely from television and internet sources, she attempts to focus on those moments that create tension as they challenge the governing voice of history.

Venue & Address: 
LE Gallery 1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Email: 
wil@le-gallery.ca
Cost: 
Free

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, MARIA SOROKA (ADVERTISING)

Maria Soroka at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Maria Soroka’s medal award-winning project, Localosity, is a transmedia campaign. Here’s how she describes it:

My thesis explored creative advertising as a method to engage mainstream audiences in the local food narrative and foster greater human connectivity between urban consumers and rural producers. Through a crafted transmedia campaign, with a special focus in modern, user-friendly digital platforms, a unified brand experience unfolded wherein the major obstacles of consuming locally were eliminated and ongoing revenue was generated for local farmers.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was feeling discouraged by the prospect of becoming further immersed in an industry that promotes vast levels of waste, deep malnutrition and negligent consumerism. I saw my thesis project as an opportunity to use advertising to build a consumer/product relationship that was inherently meaningful, healthy and positive.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from the labyrinthine creative process of configuring a broadly social, economical and environmental initiative into a focused and engaging, consumer-facing platform.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I am most proud of the naive thoughts, questions and ideas that were kindled and extinguished in the process of designing my final concept.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work? 

I felt motivated to continue creating work that is both publicly and personally important.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

My fondest memories are in the relationships I built while completing my degree. I will miss ample and ongoing exposure to ideation, creativity and critique.

What are you planning to do next? 

I’m currently working as an Art Director at Leo Burnett. I plan to pursue a master’s degree, and one day build my own company.

Find out more about Maria Soroka:

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MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, JENN SEOYOUNG KIM (INDUSTRIAL DESIGN)

Jenn Seoyoung Kim at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Jenn Seoyong Kim's project, Plant Haiti Campaign. Image by Jenn Seoyoung Kim.

Jenn Seoyoung Kim’s medal award-winning project, Plant Haiti Campaign, is designed to bring much-needed trees to communities in Haiti. Here’s how she describes it:

Haiti, which was once covered in lush green forests, has now decayed into a barren wasteland. An enormous amount of trees were cut down constantly in a matter of decades to produce lumber for mainly industrial use, including charcoal as a domestic cooking fuel. The value of greenery seemed to be forgotten as Haiti was undergoing a vicious cycle, where trees were being planted only to be cut down. Plant Haiti Campaign recalls the potential beauty of Haiti by supporting Haitian communities to grow and maintain Moringa Trees. The miraculous nutritional values of this tree can easily overturn the course of Haiti’s future. When products within the Miracle Moringa Collection, inspired by the artisans of Haiti, are purchased, part of the revenue goes to NGOs in Haiti to help reforest the nation as well as educate Haitians about the importance of trees.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

Last summer, I went to Haiti for two weeks on a mission trip from church and realized how critical living conditions are there. The earthquake in 2010 brought too much sorrow and despair that still lingers in Haitians’ minds and lifestyles. I wanted to provide a long-term solution that could help Haiti to get out of this environmental crisis and eventually stand up on its own.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from researching through various methods and applying those techniques to better enhance my ideas. Especially, our class schedule included weekly presentations that helped me to keep track of my directions. 

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I’m proud of the fact that my project is based on long-term considerations and a result of my own experience. By addressing a real problem for the most needed,Plant Haiti Campaign connects many aspects all together to harmonize and recreate the value of greenery.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work? 

I wasn’t expecting a call from OCAD U, so my heart stopped for a second when I heard the word “congratulations.” I cried for three hours. Every time I told my family and friends about the result, I couldn’t stop crying (happy tears).

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I miss the days I spent in woodshop making furniture and other projects with fellow students. Technicians and monitors were friendly to help out and overall I loved its warm atmosphere.

What are you planning to do next? 

My next step is to further enhance my skills and build more experience as a designer. 

Find out more about Jenn Seoyoung Kim:

LinkedIn Profile

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, MIKE GOLDBY (INTEGRATED MEDIA)

Mike Goldby at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Mike Goldby's project, Premier Life. Image courtesy of Tomorrow Gallery.

Mike Goldby’s medal award-winning project, Premier Life, is a multimedia exploration of personal branding strategies. Here’s how he describes it:

Premier Life is the name of my thesis exhibition shown at Tomorrow Gallery. The work examines network structures and how image-making strategies are co-opted for personal branding. The show includes nine photographs, three sculptures and a video.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I decided I wanted to attempt photography, which I’d never done before, so that was really the springboard for the whole project. It led towards editorial or fashion imagery that I was familiar with, but I was interested in utilizing that aesthetic as a way to examine social network structures since Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The whole process was informative and rewarding, but I would say reading and writing was the most important aspect of thesis for me.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I was most proud to have been offered a show, especially at a space like Tomorrow.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I called my mom!

What’s you fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I’ll miss being surrounded by a group of faculty and students that are invested in worthwhile discussions involving art and culture.

What are you planning to do next?

Continuing my studio practice post-institution.

Find out more about Mike Goldby:

Portfolio

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, SAYEDA AKBARY (GRAPHIC DESIGN)

Sayeda Akbary at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Sayeda Akbary's project, All That's Been Said and Done. Image by Sayeda Akbary.

Sayeda Akbary’s medal award-winning project, All That’s Been Said and Done is a participatory video installation. Here’s how she describes it:

The title of my thesis is All That’s Been Said & Done. The project is a video installation based on the different lifestyles of people in the western society (Us) and people in the third world countries (Them). The installation is a replica of a room, in an Afghani village, with two full wall projections facing each other. The space between the projections forms an extension for the audience to fully participate and share the space of a third world society and its people. As part of the project, I distributed over forty disposable cameras to children around the different villages during my visit and assigned them a task to help us see through their eyes. Throughout this approach, I used graphic design as a creative process to convey a specific message to a targeted audience through visual communication and presentation. By using various methods of combining images, sound, video, typography and page layout, my aim is to produce a balanced and focused installation that visually represents my ideas and messages.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

What inspired me were the experiences I faced when I first visited Afghanistan, after a very long time, in June of 2011. I felt there was a barrier between my extended family and Us because of our social class and standards. Through my approach, I wanted to remove these barriers and help Them share our experiences while we shared theirs. I wanted Them to feel that there is nothing that marks one of us better than the other and there are no barriers that can stop us from living the lives and sharing the experiences of each other.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from re-visiting Afghanistan in December of 2012 to gather further research for this project and I would say that was by far the best decision I ever made. This was an opportunity where I got to work in person with the children of my village. I was able to share their space with them and learn from them. I shared my knowledge of the western society with them in return. We soon started to adapt each other’s behaviour and physical language. They soon felt that sharing the “western” experiences made them as good as the “westerners” and that there was nothing left to make one of us better than the other. I learned about these children’s feelings and their future dreams. 

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I am really proud of making the Afghanistan trip happen for this project. I was also extremely happy and satisfied with how my final installation turned out. It served the purpose really well and knowing that the audience fully experienced and understood the atmosphere of the installation was definitely a good feeling.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was surprised, excited and out of words, but I think I was more happy to know that I had achieved the goal I had set for myself and that was to get my message and ideas across. It has definitely motivated me to continue making important differences in people’s lives. 

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The past years at OCAD U have been magnificent. As a student monitor, full time staff member and a full time student, I have met so many different amazing students, coworkers and instructors who have challenged me and supported me in every step to pushing my limits. My finest moments are the time and the knowledge I have shared with the OCAD U community. 

What are you planning to do next?

I am currently working on an upcoming exhibition planned for August that will feature my work together with thesis work by my peers. My plan is to do as many exhibitions as possible throughout the next year. I will also be attending OCAD U to complete my minor in INTM. Future plans are to complete a Master’s program.

Find out more about Sayeda Akbary:

LinkedIn Profile

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, TARA BURSEY (CRITICISM & CURATORIAL PRACTICE)

Tara Bursey at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Tara Bursey's project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue. Image by Tara Bursey.

Tara Bursey’s medal award-winning project Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue is an interdisciplinary publishing project highlighting stories of immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Here’s how she describes it:

My project, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue, is a research and interdisciplinary publishing project. Taking inspiration from diverse approaches and disciplines such as oral history, critical pedagogy, community art practices and new working class studies, the project centres on two artist books I produced in collaboration with my parents that highlight their respective stories of inmigration and immigration, language, labour and adaptation. Compiling their convergent stories and elevating them through the production of both publications and works of art, Father Knowledge, Mother Tongue addresses the importance of integrating overlooked voices —specifically those of immigrants and working classes — into the cultural landscape.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned to trust myself and trust the collaborative process more. Early in the project, I would ask myself: What the hell did I get myself into?  What is even going on here?  A big part of the collaborative process is learning to balance critical thinking with flexibility. I also learned to be a better listener.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I’m amazed and proud that my parents and I were able to work on a multifaceted project as a family! It is thrilling to learn firsthand that anyone can become a cultural producer and bring their important lived experiences to creative projects. I’m proud there is something quietly subversive about this work, and that through the project I was able to bring art production and self-publishing a little further afield.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was at work on my lunch break when I got the news — one of my thesis advisors called me to let me know. I remember having some really important work to do after lunch that I just couldn’t concentrate on because my mind was racing. I called my boyfriend and my mother.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

The support and feedback of my thesis advisors Jennifer Rudder and Andrea Fatona. They are both so amazing and knowledgeable — an awesome pair who bring so much heart and smarts to the CRCP program. Also, the support, intelligence and feedback of my peers in CRCP thesis class helped and stimulated me —  their projects were unique, diverse and inspiring.

What are you planning to do next? 

I am currently working as an Administrative Assistant at Toronto School of Art and a Researcher for the Artscape Youngplace project. I have been working as a Contributing Curator at Gallery 1313, and am co-curating an exhibition that opens in August called Fear of Punk//Fear of Art that will be a part of the programming around Zine Dream, an annual Toronto small press art fair that is the brainchild of OCAD U alum Jesjit Gill. Finally, my partner and I have plans to relocate to Hamilton in the fall, which we’re looking forward to!

Find out more about Tara Bursey:

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MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, SHANNON LEA DOYLE (SCULPTURE/INSTALLATION)

Shannon Lea Doyle at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Video image still from Shannon Lea Doyle's project, Crowds and Collisions. Image by Shannon Lea Doyle.

Shannon Lea Doyle’s medal award-winning project, Crowds and Collisions is a multimedia work that explores moments of connection and distance between individuals. Here’s how she describes it:

My thesis is a series called Crowds and Collisions that includes performance, collage, and beaded sculptures. The work centres on the role mediation and memory play in the perception of events, both removed and intimately experienced. I argue for the multiplicity of truth. A sense of suspension permeates the work. I never pin down an answer, instead the work illuminates the ways in which we don’t know. Images of groups are the connective tissue of my work — I see in them as an opportunity to consider oppositions such as merger and distance, cohesion and fragmentation. My thesis aims to engage the viewer by prompting doubt.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

Images from the newspaper as well as amateur video footage of “breaking news” became the roots of this series. Specifically images of protest, disaster and football motivated my thinking. 

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned continuously during the past year, but an awareness of that knowledge came after exhibiting the work. 

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I am proud that the process is not over for me. 

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was disoriented. I got lost on my way to the Faculty of Art Office to pick up information about Grad Ex.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

My fondest memories are of my wickedly smart classmates, I will miss working alongside them so often. 

What are you planning to do next? 

I am preparing work for a couple of shows this summer and working in the design stream of Soulpepper Theatre Company’s Academy. 

Find out more about Shannon Lea Doyle:

Portfolio

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, ASHLEY MACKENZIE (ILLUSTRATION)

Ashley Mackenzie at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Ashley Mackenzie's project, Dangerous Ideas. Image by Ashley Mackenzie.

Ashley Mackenzie’s medal award-winning project, Dangerous Ideas, is a work that investigates our reaction to science and thinking. Here’s how she describes it:

My thesis was called Dangerous Ideas which explored controversial concepts proposed by various scientists and intellectuals, using visual metaphors to investigate how these ideas can make us so uncomfortable and encourage people to think about them.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I had read The Best American Non-Required Reading 2007 over the summer and there was a chapter dedicated to a series of responses to the question “What is your dangerous idea?” Apparently Edge.org does one of these every year and everything is archived online so I went through and found common themes and ideas and continued doing research to find the concepts that I thought were the most intriguing or relevant.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I definitely learned the most from going through the actual ideation process. The concepts I’d chosen were very challenging since in many ways they were rather abstract and it was difficult to find a way to visualize them clearly in a unique way without relying too heavily on cliche.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

Those times when I finally managed to nail down the sketch matched the idea. It was certainly the part of the process that I spent the most time on and while it was the most stressful part it was also the most satisfying.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

I was really surprised! I was there the morning just before the judging touching up my display and looking at everyone’s work I couldn’t help but be amazed. Everyone put in so much work, it was such a strong year and I was incredibly honoured to have won.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I really liked working on the Wallspace since I never really spent much time working in the actual school outside of class time. It was nice running into people who recognized my work and also just have people drop by to say hi. I’ve also never painted anything on that scale before so it was both exciting and terrifying but I think it went pretty well. I’ll definitely miss the critiques since it’s so hard to find such easy access to the wealth of visual knowledge and help you get from your peers and professors once you leave, and I think it’s certainly one of those things you take for granted when you’re in school.

What are you planning to do next? 

I’m hoping to start freelancing, trying to get some editorial jobs and maybe publishing. I’d like to work on some personal projects, get back to drawing and sketching since school’s kept me too busy to really indulge my sketchbooks.

Find out more about Ashley Mackenzie:

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