2018 Visualizing Health Equity Contest Winners Gallery

Theme: “What would a community, neighborhood, or world where boys and men of color have a fair opportunity to be their healthiest look like?”

1st Place Winner
Hartford, CT
 i was born & raised in Hartford, CT but of Jamaican descent. All my life i have gravitated towards art, not only was it all around me but it completely filled me.  Before i knew how to write my name, i was sketching the likeness of my favorite cartoon characters anywhere i could. It was the only subject that didn’t feel like work in school. To this day, there is nothing else that compels me the way art and music does.From mix media, spoken word to song arrangements; For me, art & music are like breathing– i don’t stop to think of why im doing it – i just innately do. i get inspired by any & everything–from fellow artists to particles of sand.
Life itself is the ultimate inspiration and i am a vessel.* i use a lowercase ‘i’ to visually express the fact that it is not solely me, all praise to The Supreme Being. 🙌🏾
Art Statement
My 1st piece “Books over Bullets”, depicts a young man on top of a pile of books that have positive subject matter. This piece speaks to the importance of reading and whole through that one action you can acquire so much knowledge. Knowledge is all about exercising the mind.My 2nd piece “Conquer and Climb” depicts an older man running up some concrete steps with open sky, water, and trees in the background. Every step represents some form of adversity he has to overcome to be his best self. This is all about exercising the body.Both pieces can play of each other telling a story of how through knowledge you can physically conquer most things. Showing men of color prevailing through obstacles that the world feel they will never, is great a way to show health equity.
2nd Place Winner
Sokaina Asar
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT
I am a senior with an Individualized Major in Neuroscience and a Studio Art Minor. I  am co-chair of the Sustainability Subcommittee on campus and shows support for the Pakistani Community at UConn (PCUC), Muslim Students Association (MSA), and Middle Eastern Students Association (MESA). I have recently become more involved in Community Outreach at UConn, where a trip to Detroit focusing on urban development, education, and civic engagement inspired the work submitted for the Health Disparity Institute.I have been previously been involved with a Global Engagement and Human Rights Fellowship, working with professors and students on a community action project in New Haven and discussing relevant readings on human rights issues. I worked on research involving emotional expression between couples at Yale University and is currently working on her thesis research involving drug tests on rat models with tremulous jaw movement (TJM) applicable to Parkinson’s Disease. After graduation, I to attend medical school to pursue a career as a pediatrician.
Art Statement
The drawing, “A Dream for Health Equity”, depicts mirror images of communities: one broken-down and developing in an urban environment with poverty, while the other is an idealistic community promoting education and health for young boys of color.For the urban community in black and white, I was inspired by my trip to the west side of Detroit. The trip focused on learning about urban development, poverty, education, and civil rights. Detroit has a lot of food insecurity and food deserts, which is represented by the cityscape and the McDonald’s. You would not be able to find a grocery store for a couple miles, while fast food restaurants are cheap and most available to people in communities like this. This is also an area where a lot of people of color are concentrated. Many young boys/men are exposed to mass incarceration in the area and lack positive role models. Our group volunteered with Auntie Na’s, which is a community outreach center shown in the drawing. Auntie Na grew up in Detroit and her community has gone through gentrification, drug epidemics, incarceration, school closings, and more. However, she has tried to stay in her community and care for the youth. She has college students volunteering to tutor the kids, allows homeless community members to live in vacant homes in the neighborhood, collects and gives away produce and clothes. She is also investing in teaching the youth about dealing with health emergencies.Overall, this is one example of out of several communities where boys of color specifically, do not have the resources to grow. They do not have a nutritional diet, their schools lack educational resources, and they cannot afford to work on their self-development if they must take care of siblings or even their parents at a young age. Even though Auntie Na’s was trying to build a better environment for the youth, her house was not in good condition and the adults smoked around the kids, shown by the man smoking outside in the drawing. For this section, I wanted to capture a real scene happening in many communities around America, negatively affecting boys’ health. 

However, this image is juxtaposed by the colorful, healthy community on the right. The drawing is full of life – a healthy, green environment, safe for the boys to play in. The school promotes a safe space within education with resources to help the boys grow and learn. A sign in the grass says “Fresh Check Day,” which is a day that promotes mental health awareness. The “Get Your Physical” sign is meant to point out public schools which allow students to get physicals in the nurse’s office for free. This community has a local grocery store and a walk-in clinic available. There is also a coach playing basketball with the boys, to emphasize a need for positive role models among boys/men of color. If communities like the ones in Detroit are given the resources depicted in the “ideal” community in many parts of America, boys/men of color would be able to live healthier lives.