Determining a Nation by Rebecca Hay

Determining a Nation by Rebecca Hay

Selected as Viewers’ Choice at the 2013 Brain & Mental Health Art Show.

Determination. Courage. That fire you feel burning in every fiber of your being when something you want more than anything in the world lies just outside your grasp. This is what my painting means to me–we’ve all been this little girl, with a big city reflected in our eyes and our hearts. For some people, this impossible goal is same sex marriage, or the right to education, or even clean water. As someone deeply interested in mental health, I can’t help but notice the horrible stigma that follows people with mental illness. Too often people feel ashamed to seek help for a mental illness, which only hurts and limits themselves. As well, too many times people who do seek help are then branded. I’ve seen a diagnosis of depression turn someone into a social pariah, and I’ve seen modern day media grossly misconstrue mental illness to make everyone a monster. The fact is, society stigmatizes and outcasts mental illness and too often people find themselves wanting for something so bad, that’s just out of reach–normalcy, respect, and consideration. Instead they find hostility, disgust, and fear. People who are struggling through this stigma even just for the right to be themselves are this little girl; they’ve felt that fire, and that passion. It is that very passion, that desire, that defines us.

About The Artist

My name is Rebecca Hay, and I am a student at Carleton University. I am 20 years old and currently studying Neuroscience and Mental Health. Before I came to Ottawa, I lived in Calgary, Alberta, where I was born and raised. I’m never really complete without paint accidentally smeared in my hair and charcoal smudged all over my hands. When I’m not painting or sketching, I love photography and have experience shooting weddings and portraits. My passion for painting and photography is only matched by my passion for psychology and biology. In the summer I love to windsurf, wakeboard, and play basketball, and in the winter I love to downhill ski. I miss the mountains immensely, but love Ottawa’s beautiful waterways. I’ve had many great experiences in this city and I am looking forward to many more!

My body of work can be found on my website:

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