Daniel, 38, suffers from eating disorders for 30 years, participant of Project 2020

She is enchanted, amazed, and connected to the result, continuously excited, as am I. The painting of her life in 2020. "No one has ever done something, especially for me," she says with shining eyes, asking me to explain every detail in the painting, every motif I chose for her.

Update sent to crowdfunding supporters, 27.4.2014:

I’ll start by saying that Daniel is the only participant in the project who is also an old friend of mine. We haven’t been in touch for the past few years, but there is real love and friendship between us. We met at one of the first advertising agencies I worked at over a decade ago and quickly became friends.

Daniel has something special about her, a big heart and an endless capacity to give of herself to everyone around her. Surprisingly, she was the only person I worked with over the years who truly saw me. Daniel understood me just as I understood her but never judged or tried to change anything. She was simply there for me during a difficult time.

When you have a secret you try to hide all the time, you feel like you’re living a kind of lie. That’s why my friendship with her was different and special for me. After a while, our paths diverged, and each of us went her own way.

A few months ago, we reconnected. During that meeting, I told her about the project and asked if she wanted to be part of it. I didn’t know exactly what her situation was today, but I felt it was right for me and the process I’ve been going through over the last two years. It seemed fitting that towards the end of the project, I would also close a personal circle.

Yesterday morning, we met at her small and beautifully decorated apartment in Tel Aviv. For the past six months, Daniel has been in a wonderful relationship. After a decade of trying and failing to find her other half who would truly see her, accept, and love her as she deserves, her Superman arrived. After we had coffee and chatted a bit, Daniel’s boyfriend left the house.

I didn’t recall ever really talking openly about the disorder. I asked her to tell me everything from the beginning, and then she started to share.

As a child in the kibbutz, in communal sleeping arrangements, the caregivers decided on their own to stop giving her carbohydrates. She recalls how at just four years old, she wondered why all the kids were eating pasta, and she was not allowed.

She then spoke about a difficult childhood, her close relationship with her mother, who also suffers from a severe eating disorder, thinking her father didn’t love her because of her weight, and the obsession with cleanliness she began to develop simultaneously.

As a teenager, she realized that the only control she had was over food. She started starving herself and quickly lost weight. The starvation filled her with satisfaction and brought her attention from others. During her military service, she gained weight again, and after her discharge, she moved abroad for a few years. When she returned (during the time we first met), she went through another crisis accompanied by a drastic weight loss.

Although she was aware of her condition, she never sought systematic treatment but spent long periods meeting with psychologists and later began attending workshops and searching within herself for answers. Even today, at a normal weight, she defines the disorder as something that is always there and still struggles with abnormal behavior patterns.

About two weeks ago, she says, she returned from a trip abroad with her mother. It’s very easy for her to travel with her mother because neither of them eats much most of the time, so they feel comfortable together – no nagging or embarrassing questions. Two generations of eating disorders, a mother and daughter who love each other so much while sharing the same monster. It’s sad.

Today, after two years of staring this disorder in the face, I come to the conclusion that anyone who has ever suffered from an eating disorder will probably have to deal with it all their life. The question is how much of your life this beast occupies. Real success is knowing how to control it; killing it completely is almost impossible.

After four hours, I leave her place. I love this girl very much. I really want her to be happy. I really want to hope that we will remain friends in 2020 and even in 2050. I’m waiting for her questionnaire and starting.

Update sent to crowdfunding project supporters, 13.7.2014:


Daniel meets her painting

On Thursday, between alarms, Daniel comes to me in the evening to see the painting its. For long minutes she stands and looks at him, examines and smiles. “It’s so me,” she says. The most mysterious painting in the series. An intimate painting that only she will understand, a visual and optimistic vision that will serve as a daily reminder of the only relevant option she has: to fight her disorder. Not accepting the situation. Wanting to live a normal life with joy, light, and love, there is a war outside with missiles and news and commentary, 

GORGEOUS | Daniel’s painting

in the end, there will be a ceasefire and we will all return to some kind of routine, but for Daniel, as for the other participants of the project, the war is deep inside the head and her biggest enemy is the mirror on the wall. I hope she can make peace with herself.

The 2020 project exhibition:

The opening of the exhibition

Project 2020 is an optimistic social art project. The project began in 2012 and continued until 2015. The project was inspired by my personal and optimistic journey to overcome a 16-year struggle with an eating disorder.

For project details and artworks

Project 2020 | Solo exhibition

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