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OCAD U announces 2024 medal winners

Image by Pixel Heller

Pictured above is “It Takes Two”, acrylic paint, oil pastel and fabric on canvas, by medal winner Pixel Heller, Cross-Disciplinary Art: Life Studies Program.

Congratulations to OCAD University’s 2024 Medal Winners!

The medal winners from 18 undergraduate programs will showcase their work at GradEx 109, which kicks off May 1 with a party and celebration at 6:30 p.m. in Butterfield Park and auditorium at 100 McCaul St.

Known as Toronto’s largest free art and design exhibition, GradEx 109 features work by more than 800 emerging artists, designers and digital media makers. The exhibition is open to the public from 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 5.

The medal winners will be honoured at a reception on May 1 and their work will be exhibited in the Great Hall, second floor, at 100 McCaul St. They will receive their medals at Convocation in June.

This year, GradEx’s presenting sponsors are Hullmark and BGO, with sponsor Fitzrovia and blogTO as the media sponsor.




Jessica Sanchez Martinez enjoys the analytical and creative aspects of advertising and is passionate about creating advertisements that aid and inspire individuals. She has created Sun Catcher, an app that pairs SLAM technology with solar tracking data. As a result, users can locate where the most sunlight is available to them while indoors, providing a holistic approach to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and vitamin D deficiency.

Creative Writing

Richie Evans aka gutz is a writer, illustrator, designer and theoretical drag performer. Evans has produced a series of seven chapbooks, BLOODHOUND: The Collection, which explores the multiple, uncontained inherency of body-ing, the gnashing creature in the cage and the pup laying docile at your feet.

Criticism & Curatorial Practice

Kay Rangel Vargas is an artist, writer and curator from Mexico City whose artistic exploration centres in the intersection of memory and nostalgia. Her mixed media work, La Trenza, explores braiding as a generational practice that holds care, culture and support. By playing with the imagery of the braid and its similarity to tree roots, the Rangel Vargas holds the idea of braiding and walking as acts of presence and resilience.

Cross-Disciplinary Art: Life Studies

Pixel Heller is a multidisciplinary artist and designer whose creative journey is deeply influenced by her identity as a woman of Afro-Caribbean descent. She explores themes of Black identity, carnival masquerade, cultural fluidity and the preservation of cultures. Heller’s work, Archiving the Evolution of Culture, features two seven-foot-tall prints depicting her as the Moko Jumbie, a traditional masquerade character with roots in West Africa. Heller has had exhibitions at Gallery 1313, Meridian Arts Centre, Yonge and Dundas Square and internationally at the Black Brazil Art Biennial.

Digital Futures

Valeria Suing is a designer who focuses on human-centric principles, emphasizing social innovation and strategic design. Her project, Coffee & Climate, merges art, design and technology to address climate change impacts on coffee production using augmented reality (AR) to transform complex data into engaging visualizations. By visualizing real-time weather data from major coffee-producing countries, the project aims to enhance awareness and understanding of climate change's effects on the coffee industry. Using AR, Coffee & Climate transforms complex weather data into engaging, intuitive visualizations, allowing users to experience the data in a dynamic, immersive format.

Drawing & Painting

Hana Hozhabr Pour is a visual artist who creates captivating mixed media paintings that delve into the intersection of diaspora feminism and marginalization. She has had solo and group exhibitions across North America and the Middle East. Among her works being exhibited is Unticipation for the sunrise, an installation of mixed media paintings on found acrylic sheets and canvases.

Environmental Design

Batoll Nassery envisions a new urban innovation hub, Creative Nexus Hub, located in Toronto’s Financial District that would educate students and young professionals within a transdisciplinary environment focused on launching start-ups. As a place to enrich ideas in design, design theory, science and business, the hub would include on-site housing and resources, made available through public and private funding to support collaborative innovation.

Experimental Animation

Yutong Liu is an animator and concept artist specializing in 2D animation who skillfully bridges the gap between traditional animation techniques and cutting-edge digital practices. Her animated short film uses a blend of 2D animation and 3D modeling, with a focus on subtle colors and detailed linework, to present a surreal visual narrative that reflects her thematic exploration of life beyond conventional success. The film is an introspective dialogue and a call to viewers to reevaluate what a meaningful life means to them, challenging the predetermined paths and celebrating the beauty of unexpected turns in life.

Graphic Design

Yiğit Toprak’s work, Reinventing the Wheel, is a series of unconventional graphic design tools. One such tool is “The Manicule,” a hand and arm accessory with which a designer can move typography and other graphic design assets around on a screen without having to touch a mouse or a keyboard. Toprak’s work aims to critique and respond to the forceful standardization in design that leads to homogenization, advocating for a return to creative self-expression and uniqueness.


Nik October-Clydesdale is a multidisciplinary artist whose work, Permeability, explores leaking in various forms, in the breaching between exterior and interior, whether that’s the body, or barriers between and you and other people. Among the 10 pieces on exhibit is, Pressure, which is about catharsis and release, specifically of bodily fluids but in a celebratory way.

Indigenous Visual Culture 

Alexis Nanibush Pamajewong (she/they) is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe interdisciplinary artist from Shawanaga First Nation (Robinson Huron Treaty). Their work focuses on performance, installation, beadwork, photography and video. Their work focuses on Indigenous storytelling, ancestral/intergenerational knowledge, presence/absence, land as pedagogy, the act of care, love, and labour. One of their works is Spirits See Red (Drum), a sculpture whose narrative focuses on the Anishinaabe concept of kobade, meaning the relation to our ancestors, grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren, which acknowledges that we are all a link in a chain. The drums mimic the heartbeat and synchronize the beat together. The sculpture’s red beds communicate the bloodline – family, to the land, the stars, songs, and the love we have for each other.

Industrial Design

Victor Kosic has designed the app, Velocity Repair, that goes beyond traditional repair methods by connecting consumers with local makers and repair experts in their community and promoting sustainable practices. The app allows people to extend the life of their belongings while significantly reducing environmental impact by offering an alternative to disposability.

Integrated Media

Brigita Gedgaudas aka “Bri” “Pretzl” (e/he/they) is an emerging, interdisciplinary, trans and diasporic-Lithuanian artist who engages with in-betweenness as they explore contradictory experiences of gender and cultural heritage through realms of dance and digital world-building. Gedgaudas’ practice is informed by engaging in the queer street dance style W*acking; the performance collective, PriXm; and Lithuanian folk dance group Gintaras.

Material Art & Design

Kayla Bullen delves into the realm of workwear with the Blue Collar Collection for their brand, KAYBUL. This speculative collection, specifically designed for women working in the trades, presents garments that preserve functionality while allowing the wearer to express their personal narratives. Informed by contemporary women’s wear codes as well as key utilitarian details of trade garments, such as material, form, fit and fabrication, the collection attempts to challenge conventional norms while honouring trade heritage.


Delali Cofie engages in storytelling using multiple genres of photography, such as fine art, documentary and fashion. He has worked with seamstresses in Ghana to create five large-scale masquerade costumes made from raffia and fabric sheets. Inspired by traditional West African costuming, his photographs present self-portraits and an exploration into the sense of self. He has had exhibitions in galleries across Ontario, including Gallery 44 and Gallery 101. His first solo exhibition, A Place of Ours, was part of the 2022 CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto.

Printmaking & Publications

Carley McGoldrick is an artist, designer and arts educator. McGoldrick’s latest series, Please Retain Your Ticket, explores nostalgia and memory, shining a light on Toronto's quiet music venues from a bygone era. The series examines the fleeting yet significant impact of cultural spaces on both community and personal identities. Each artwork pays tribute to these venues, evoking the vibrancy of their heyday as focal points of art and community. The series connects Toronto's past with the collective memory of its citizens, urging recognition and appreciation of the spaces that have defined its cultural edges.


Caro Simon is an interdisciplinary artist who primarily works in sculpture and installation, poetry, printmaking and analogue photography. Her work, Residuum or Something that remains continues to exist when other things no longer do, presents an installation of seven anti-monuments that critically reassess the post-industrial built environment and the dehumanized distanced modes of interaction between bodies and utilitarian urban infrastructure. Inspired by an underground water structure found in cities, the installation reevaluates the potentiality of disregarded urban infrastructures to become more-than-material aesthetic entities.

Visual & Critical Studies

Mason Smart is an emerging critic, curator and interdisciplinary artist interested in exploring ways how art can inform, influence and prototype thinking and systems that centre and are underpinned by holistic praxes of care. His work is guided by the ways his transness allows him to connect with others and the urban and natural environment in unexpected ways. Smart’s thesis, Caprices of Copper, Mamluk Basins in Akan Communities, explores the factors that impacted Trans-Saharan copper trade between the centuries surrounding the circa mid 14th century creation of the Mamluk brass basin that migrated to Ghana, and how the connection with Mamluk craft forms impacted Akan design.