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Page Cowell named as NSCAD’s 2024 Student Art Award winner

Interdisciplinary Arts student Page Cowell (BFA 2024) is the recipient of the 2024 NSCAD Student Art Award.

The award jury selected Cowell from a pool of 10 Student Art Award finalists for her sculpture Construct. The announcement was made on Thursday, May 9, at a gala reception and exhibition at the NSCAD Port Campus. 

“I was incredibly honoured to be nominated and to be exhibiting with so many talented people. Even just being here in the same room is a huge honour,” says Cowell, a graduating student who was named NSCAD’s 2024 valedictorian by her peers.

This year’s Student Art Award jury included Dr. Jayne Wark, NSCAD Professor Emerita in the Division of Art History; Adam Myatt, Curator and Gallery Assistant at the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery; and Mireille Bourgeois, Artistic Director and Curator at the IOTA Institute.

They were impressed by Cowell’s simple, yet intricate concept that allowed viewers to become one with the sculpture. 

“There was something about it that was meaningful and intentional,” says jury member Mireille Bourgeois. “We loved its approachability and the complexity in the kinetic movement of the work. It’s something that allows you to take a pause and think about the physicality of everyday actions, which brought you in as a viewer to be part of the work and part of the moment.”

Jury member Adam Myatt says he admired the amount of technical work that went into Cowell’s kinetic sculpture.

“Everything was meticulously thought about from the colour matching to the tools,” he says. “It was a really good conversation about what those tools originally were, and the relationship between them and the imagery. It was a slight tweak on an everyday tool that made it special.”

Interdisciplinary Arts student Page Cowell is the recipient of the 2024 NSCAD Student Art Award. Credit: Sarah Poko

The jury also gave an honourable mention to Kate Dong’s Hymn, which moved them with its “beauty and delicate refinement.”

NSCAD President Dr. Peggy Shannon says she was amazed by the talent that each finalist exhibited in their artwork.

“Magic happens when motivated, aspiring artists create in their studios with the guidance of faculty and incredibly gifted technicians,” she says in her opening remark. “Every finalist here is deserving of this prize; the amount of talent they have shown this evening is astounding.”

ABOUT THE WORK

Cowell’s sculpture, Construct, is a series of mutoscopes made from kitchen utensils and tools used in carpentry. She was inspired by the mundane parts of daily life; such as frying an egg, peeling an apple, grating cheese, and other small tasks that take up parts of our day.

“I grew up in a working-class family and they’re making things everyday; whether it’s roofs, decks, spreadsheets, or lesson plans,” says Cowell. “I don’t think art is any more special than the things that they do, so I wanted to make something that honour those acts.”

The machines also spark a conversation about gendered workspaces and the similarities between the two false dichotomies of gendered tasks. The action of winding the machine becomes an act of care and service by the viewer, regardless of gender.

ABOUT THE PRIZE

The grand prize awarded to Cowell includes a $5,000 purchase prize for their submission, which now becomes part of NSCAD’s permanent collection.

The remaining nine finalists each receive $1,000 for their entries and the recognition of being the top in their respective disciplines. They are:

  • Film: a. laurel Lawrence, Our sap fills the mouths of hungry saints
  • Photography: Chris Sampson, Sananguatik | Carver
  • Drawing: Daria Herashchenko, Dissolving
  • Textiles/Fashion: Kalani Chen-Hayes, Operatic Macbeth
  • Ceramics: Kate Dong, Hymns
  • Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing: Rayce Min, Expressions
  • Painting: Silas Wamsley, His Grace
  • Expanded Media: Sunny Babcock, Breathless Ensemble
  • Printmaking: Yongxuan Zheng, Moveable Type

Read more about the nominees and the Student Art Award.