Student Recognized in State Competition for Ceramic Artwork


Nique’s “Journey Home” is one of the two pieces that won a Gold Key in the Scholastic Writing and Art Awards this year.

Sofia Sarak and Claudisson Paul

Ivana Nique was one of the six Stamford High students recently recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for their artwork. Nique, a junior, won two Gold Key awards in the Connecticut regional for her ceramic pieces, titled Journey Home and The Matriarch, both of which hold sentimental value for her.

“Winning those Gold Keys is more symbolic to me than anything. [They] make me feel that all the labor that goes into creating art is recognized by professional judges, and that they’re able to learn about me without ever knowing about me,” Nique commented.

Nique’s inspiration for her art comes from her Peruvian culture; both of Nique’s parents immigrated from Peru, and the details that are reflected in her work come from the art and pottery that she saw while growing up. 

“I adore the detail used in Peruvian pottery and felt that it was almost necessary to continue this practice that has gone on for centuries,” Nique said. 

“When I do this type of decoration it makes me feel all the more respect for the time and detail used in pottery created many generations before me”. 

A condor, a sacred bird in Peru, is depicted in the style of traditional Andean artists at the center of Nique’s piece Journey Home.

“For me personally,” Nique explained, “[the image] symbolizes strength and freedom,” 

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are “the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program” where teens can enter their work into 28 different categories. Nique’s two Gold Key awards automatically enter her for the national awards, which give students a chance to win Gold Medal, Silver Medal with Distinction, Silver Medal, and direct scholarship awards. She will be competing against all of the United States Art Applicants who also won a Gold Key from their state.

Nique’s “Unity with Separation” is featured in the MoCA High School Art Exhibit of Westport.

Carolyn Daher, the Art Department Head at Stamford High, taught Nique in her ceramics class during Nique’s freshman and sophomore years. Now, Nique is under her mentorship during an independent study.

“It’s amazing. Ivana practices a lot and she deserves it. Her style has evolved a lot in the past years,” Daher said in response to Nique’s two Gold Key awards.

Aside from being her teacher, Daher also oversees the Stamford High Art Club, which Nique is president of. Daher described her as “a dedicated potter and a hard worker.”

Currently, Nique has a piece in MoCA High School Student Art Exhibition, titled Unity with Separation. She is also waiting on the results from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards nationals round; Nique’s final comments on the subject were positive.

“I’m honored to be competing for nationals in such a prestigious competition. I know that there are millions of talented artists, so to be on the same level as them is amazing,” she said.


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