2024 Young Sculptors Exhibition Grant Winners


A Jury of Awards met and awarded grants to three artists in the 2024 Young Sculptors Exhibition. The jurors were NSS Fellows Carter Jones, Janice Mauro and Marc Mellon.
The award-winning sculpture and artists are: Water by Varvàra Fern; Saad Baldawi by Chia Hsuan Kuo; and Portrait of an Actor by Maia Williamson. Each of the sculptors receive a $1,000 grant from the Fantasy Fountain Fund. Below are the artists’ statements about the works.


Water by Varvàra Fern:

My art is fleeing emotions, shaping ideas into enduring forms with a deeply personal touch. Exploring diverse topics though emotions, my sculptures reflect life experiences and an irresistible desire to delve into ideas, resulting in independent series. Emotions are paramount; I convey not just thrilling subjects but also my feelings, inviting viewers to see through my eyes. Using oil-based clay, a language since childhood, I shape ideas and experiment with resin, plaster, and bronze casting. This medium, a conduit for expressions, seamlessly translates intricate emotions into timeless forms, forging a deep connection between my perspective and the viewer.


Saad Baldawi by Chia Hsuan Kuo:

Saad Baldawi was a co-worker of mine when I worked at the Art Students League of New York as a porter in the maintenance department. He was one of the very few people I had become friends with when I moved to the US to study sculpture. Even though he spoke very little English he shared with me his stories of his life in Iraq. The stories were always about wars and battles and how he came to the US to seek asylum, but somehow he told them with such positive energy. One day I noticed his damaged index finger and I asked him about it. He stood up and mimed the motion of a bomb landing and exploding near him. Then he smiled at me. He never spoke of it again.


Portrait of an Actor by Maia Williamson:

When sculpting this portrait, I pondered how knowing one’s own beauty is often seen as an indiscretion. However, it is nearly impossible to not consider the way we are perceived by the world. With this portrait, I could sense the model’s belief in his own beauty. I could feel the power that it can give their profession and the vanity that comes with it.


The Young Sculptors Exhibition is on view in the NSS Gallery in midtown Manhattan through May 3, 2024.

This exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Fantasy Fountain Fund.