Radheya Visperas Ponce, a Class of 2017 Virginia Commonwealth University of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) Fashion Design graduate, recently won the coveted Red Dot Award Design Concept for her work using scrap materials, Metamorphosis.
Ponce is currently a post-graduate research student at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
The Red Dot Design Awards are considered one of the preeminent award programmes in the design field. The award places Ponce amongst an elite group of artists and designers such as Michael Brandis and Inga Sempe, and companies such as Apple, Motorola, Dyson, and Berendsohn, who have been recognised by Red Dot since the award was initiated in 1955. This year, over 4,000 artists and designers from 52 countries sent in applications to the awarding body based in Germany.
Ponce, who is in her final year of her MFA programme at SCAD, was encouraged by one of her professors to send a portfolio of her work to the Red Dot jury.
My Fibers Professor in Textile Innovation nominated me to submit my work to Red Dot. I submitted my entry early this year while also preparing to finish my thesis.
She said that over the next few months, she learned that winning a Red Dot award was an honour that by default, enhanced the credentials of artists and designers.
Naturally, when I received my award letter from Red Dot in the first week of July, I was elated.
Metamorphosis is a collection of hand manipulated textiles made from second-hand fabrics, collected as memorabilia from different people and places. Some of the donors who sent in scrap material, also shared brief descriptions of what those pieces of cloth meant to them at various points of their lives.
Ponce says the piece encourages personal and sensorial interaction with the viewer, evoking a sustainable and enduring legacy of poignant, joyful and ordinary moments that make up our daily lives.
The fibre artist – who was raised in Doha – says her time at VCUarts Qatar laid the foundation for her interest in sustainable and experimental design, as well as a deeper interest in textiles and craft.
The four years at VCUarts Qatar, she said, triggered her to think of fashion as something beyond designing apparel, opening up a world of possibilities that were both sustainable and beautiful.
Moving forward, it is a pathway that I would like to pursue; my ultimate goal is to set up my own studio practice that offers sustainable art and design.
For more information about VCUarts Qatar, visit qatar.vcu.edu.