Student paintings win Purple Day contest

PurpleDayCorridorThree students have won cash prizes for their artwork, created to help raise awareness of epilepsy.

The paintings were on display in Vari Hall during Purple Day at York in March.

Rija Ahsan’s winning painting

The three winning pieces, voted on by passing students, faculty and staff, were created by Rija Ahsan of the Faculty of Education, Giovanna Galuppo of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Michelle Le of the Faculty of Health. They will be showcased in August at the annual Scotiabank Busker Ball in support of Epilepsy Toronto.

The cash prizes were $150 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third. Each artwork took Purple Day as its theme.

“I feel honoured to have won first place and I’m very glad I got to share my painting with others,” says Ahsan, whose painting depicts a long corridor with doors coming off of it.

She created it “…to represent the isolation and loneliness that comes with any mental disorder. But at the end of the hall there is an open door and light is seeping in,” says PurpleDaySecondPlaceAhsan. “I wanted to give the idea that there is a way out of the darkness and isolation; that people do care and are spreading awareness. There’s never a dead end, hope is always present.”

Giovanna Galuppo’s painting won second

Le, whose painting took third place, says she chose to include a butterfly in her painting as “many epilepsy support groups use the purple butterfly as the symbol for awareness, so I wanted to incorporate it in my painting.” The health studies student is aware of the stigma often associated with health conditions such as epilepsy.

In her painting, Le says, “The waves branching off towards the butterfly represent the large community that is aware and supports those with epilepsy.” She hopes the support community for those with epilepsy will continue to grow and eventually overcome the stigma attached to having the condition.

Epilepsy Toronto partnered with the Student Association of Health Management, PurpleDayButterflyPolicy & Informatics and Winters College Council to bring Purple Day – an international day to raise epilepsy awareness – to York’s Keele campus.

Michelle Le’s painting won the third-place prize

Purple Day was full of fun, interactive and educational games and quizzes, including epilepsy jeopardy, spin-the-wheel, ping pong, a seizure tile puzzle and a dartboard game. Students could also create purple origami flowers or leave inspirational messages on cutouts of brains to support people living with epilepsy. There was also a bake sale, popcorn and cotton candy, which helped raise funds for Epilepsy Toronto.

Some of the other students who had their work displayed were Nina Soyer, Sarah Di PurpleDayStudentsPaola, Radi Hilaneh and Denise De Marco.

Students volunteer to help run activities during Purple Day at York

The art competition was a partnership between Epilepsy Toronto, the Student Association of Health Management, Policy & Informatics and Winters College Council at York University.

To learn more about epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Toronto website.