“This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.”
So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders.
Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the collection’s paintings, the exhibit provides a window into the minds of individuals struggling with eating disorders. Each image is accompanied by an explanation of the patient’s treatments and trials during their time at Reuth Medical Center’s Machon Agam center for eating disorders. Agam, located in the Tel Aviv area, is the largest and busiest outpatient eating disorder clinic in Israel.
“Eating disorder patients are often among the most articulate people,” explained Yehudit Arad, exhibit curator and a renowned Israeli art therapist. “But when it comes to talking about their eating disorders, they cannot express themselves, or they have learned what they are supposed to say.”
Art, Arad said, helps these patients to open up. Through Arad’s guidance and a series of exercises, the patients are able to tap into the gap between what they show on the outside and what they feel on the inside. When used in conjunction with other therapies such as counseling, medication, and nutritional support, art therapy can serve a vital role in eating-disorder patients’ recovery, according to Arad.