Painted mannequins with quotes

Be strong. Hold it together. Don’t show emotion.

  • These kinds of thoughts stay with us. They set standards for how we think and act.

When we try to achieve standards like the above, we repress our feelings. We hide depression with isolation, alcohol, or work. We act like big parts of ourselves don’t exist.

We become, on the surface, an “ideal” man.

Refract is an installation that challenges this too-simple definition of manliness.

We started with five mannequins, each painted a solid colour with quotes to represent different masculine archetypes.

Then, like how many colours become visible when light refracts through a prism, we mixed and reassembled their parts to represent broader definitions of man.

By doing so, we aim to make it okay for men to be who they are, connect with how they feel, and seek support when they need it.

Quotes written on the mannequins were taken from and inspired by research conducted by the Movember-funded Men’s Depression and Suicide Network at UBC, and recovery story videos from HeadsUpGuys.

The exhibit was held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on June 13th and 14th, 10am-7pm.

Follow along with #MensHealthWeek and #MensMHday at @HeadsUpGuys and @MensHealthUBC

June 13th, 2016


HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-1  HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-2

HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-3  HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-5

HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-4  HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-6

June 14th, 2016


HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-1(2)  HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-3(2)

HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-6(2)  HeadsUpGuys-MDSNet-MensHealthWeek-2016-5(2)

For other Men’s Health Week projects and campaigns:MHWBadge


Men's Health Week takes place annually in mid-June, during the week preceding Father’s Day. The week is not just a campaign, but a call to action for men to take better care of their health and for communities to support men in this endeavour.

Men's Health Week 2024