The Starving Artist

For such a long time, I thought if I was thinner, I would be happier. Instead, quite the opposite occurred, and I became confined to my body. – Ally Zlatar

“While my eating disorder began at the age of 13, I was formally diagnosed with anorexia with a binge-purge subset at the age of 17. My condition further developed into bulimia two years later and then followed by orthorexia within the following year. Since then, I have developed a distorted relationship with food, weight, and body image. My central problem was not so much the external physical ramifications of the illness, but rather the internalized psychological and emotional struggles that I have experienced. The reality of living with the ‘inner torment’ deriving from these diseases is unbearable. It is incredibly difficult to express how having an eating disorder can impact the self-identity and self-image of someone who is ill. As an artist, my practice-led research emerges from this personal experience of these eating disorders and how I represent my body within my artworks as well as represent the female body within art more broadly. “

This exhibition addresses: To what extent can contemporary art concerning eating disorders enlighten us about perceptions of self-identity within a broader context of mental health and well-being? Central to this exhibition is Ally Zlatar’s own positioning as a female artist who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder. The work involves a process-driven inquiry involving auto-ethnographic artwork production concerning her lived experience with an eating disorder.  The work has been toured globally in such institutions as Belgrade Art Studio, Art House Holland, The Herald in Glasgow, Scotland and London Drawing Group. It has also formed into an Artist Publication titled “One, Body, My Body, No Body” on the lived-in experience with an eating disorder. The funds raised from sales of the publication and artworks goes towards the charity she started called The Starving Artist Scholarship which helps raise funds for females globally to access inpatient treatment for eating disorders who can not afford so. This exhibition helps not only through advocacy but directly aiding those who need support.
Especially after the pandemic mental health needs to be taken care of now more than ever. What we hope to convey through this exhibition is that we need to critically address our wellbeing and give people a platform to see others expressing their un-well voices for positive change.

About The Artist:
Exploring art-making as a methodology that suggests the human condition is more complex than it is currently understood. Ally Zlatar examines, instigates and provokes notions of the individual experience through focusing on the themes of illness, vulnerability, and authenticity of one’s lived-in experience. She utilizes an auto-ethnographic approach to her contemporary figurative painting. Zlatar explores her personal narratives and life experiences to guide her exploration of self-identity and self-perception in our modern discourse. She acknowledges power within the un-well body and believes there is tremendous value and potency by examining it through the contemporary art lens. Born in Mississauga, Canada. She holds a BFA in Visual Art & Art History from Queen’s University & an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Currently, she is a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow (GIC) and is pursuing her Doctorate of Creative Arts with the University of Southern Queensland. She has been involved in many exhibition creations and personal works shown globally. In her artistic practice, she is continuously interpreting, communicating and facilitating her work to make a difference in society. 


Click here for the prospectus.

Categories: Traveling Exhibitions