Art with a conscience

York/Sheridan design students dominated the Canadian leg of the fourth annual Design Against Fur poster competition, taking first, second and third places for the second consecutive year and six of 10 honourable mentions.

Cash prizes were presented to first-place winner Tara Scarcello ($1,000), second-place winner Mark Pimentel ($500) and third-place winner Butheina Kazim ($250) for their original poster artwork expressing the theme “protect seals.” 

Left: Tara Scarcello’s winning entry

These top three winners automatically advance to the international competition in Europe, where they will vie for the grand prize this fall.

Special commendation went to Karen Chan, Edwin Chan, Kesheng Chen, Lucia Chu, Danielle Hitchcock and Catherine Lou, all of whom received honourable mention for their designs.

The winning posters were selected from more than 100 entries from across Canada by a panel of judges.

“Participation in this national and international poster competition began as a class project in our third-year course, Design for Public Awareness,” explained Professor Wendy Wong, Chair of York’s Department of Design. “I wanted the students to have a real-life professional assignment which requires them to follow explicit instructions. If they win, then that’s a bonus.”

Right: The second place award was created by Mark Pimentel. The subhead reads, “Don’t support animal cruelty. Stop buying fur.”

Design is very objective-driven, and Scarcello’s and Kazim’s comments about the competition and their winning entries bear this out.

“Being able to produce a reaction through design is an amazing feeling, one that I hope I get to feel over and over again,” said Scarcello. “It means all the hard work is worth it.”

Kazim said, “The Design Against Fur competition exemplifies the ultimate objective I have for majoring in design: the ability to effect change and make a difference in the world. Creating a strong message that can help save millions of innocent animals is a very rewarding experience.”

A worldwide contest sponsored by the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), the competition challenges design students to put their creative talents to work on behalf of animals by designing an anti-fur poster with a smart edge to it. Global Action Network, a nationally incorporated non-profit organization dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and action, hosts the contest in Canada.

The competition takes place in two phases – regionally and internationally – with regional contests running concurrently in Australia/Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom/Ireland and the United States. Regional winners automatically advance to the international competition, where a grand prize winner will be selected for a US$5,000 cash prize and a trip to a European capital for the awards celebration. The winning entry will be considered for promotional use by FFA.

Left: Third prize was awarded to Butheina Kazim for this poster

The contest is open to students of fashion, design, fine arts, advertising, marketing, graphic design and multimedia disciplines at a college or university level. About 2,000 students participated worldwide last year.

The winning posters, along with the honourable mentions, can be viewed on the Global Action Network Web site. 

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.