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Student wins Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society prize

Fine Art student Katriona Parkinson has been awarded the 2011 Norfolk Contemporary Art Society Prize for her degree show work ‘Nest’.

Student sits within her installation

Katriona Parkinson with ‘Nest’

The detailed and thoughtful installation, which has earned her a first class honours degree at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), invites visitors to make a closer inspection of the work by taking one of a row of magnifying glasses hanging at the entrance.

Katriona said: “The piece is inspired by the nature of collections, the uncanny, grotesque and subversion of the perception of the everyday object.”

The Norfolk Contemporary Art Society has more than 500 members who support, and in many cases practise the arts in Norfolk. It has a close relationship with NUA and for many years has particularly supported the Degree Shows: initially by selecting a work to purchase for the NCAS ArtWorks collection which is lent to a wide range of bodies for display in public places, and more recently by giving a prize to the best work in the degree show. This year the prize was doubled in value to £500.

The NCAS committee selects the winner each year, with a small group drawing up a shortlist and the full committee voting for a winner from the list. The 2011 shortlisting panel consisted of Susan Curran (the coordinator), Steve Baker, Brenda Ferris and Diana Heuvel.

Susan said: “We think it’s important to bear in mind that we’re choosing work at the show and not rewarding the best student overall. So we don’t take into account the students’ coursework, only what’s on display, and we ask the NUA staff who liaise with us not to tell us how the students have been graded by the examiners.

“This year we focused on Fine Art, although in the past we’ve given the prize to students in Illustration. We drew up a very varied shortlist of work by six BA Fine Art students (Rachel Collington, Rhona Gedge, Henry Jackson Newcomb, Katriona Parkinson, Alannah Richardson, Jennfer Walsh) and the committee were impressed by the quality and variety of the work.  Four of the six gained first-choice votes from the seven committee members who participated, but the clear winner was Katriona Parkinson for her installation ‘Nest.’ We all admired the wit and imagination (as well as clearly a great deal of hard work) that had gone into this work, the careful execution and the atmosphere of genteel decay that Katriona evoked.”

Katriona added: “I was considering taking a gap year but winning this prize has given me the incentive and confidence to just get on with it and feels like the first foothold in my career as an artist.”

NCAS representatives present student with prize

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