Neta, 21, bulimic for 5 years, participant of Project 2020

Neta chooses to imagine her life in 8 years, which in itself is very moving to me. She has all the tools to get there; she just needs to make a decision

Update sent to crowdfunding supporters, 12.11.2012:

Friday morning, and I am on my way to Kfar Saba to meet Neta. About two months ago, her aunt called me and asked to include her in the project. I insisted that Neta herself contact me, and indeed—she called. During our phone conversation, she apologized, hoping she would be interesting enough for the project. “I don’t have a fascinating story, I hope I will still be suitable for you…”

Neta is 21 years old and has been suffering from anorexia since she was 11. Later on, another disorder joined, which challenged her no less—OCD. This manifests mainly as extreme and uncontrollable sterility.

She opens the door, and I see how thin and fragile she is, and how beautiful and sad her eyes are. Walking upright and slowly, she invites me into the living room. Neta still lives with her parents. Like other girls in her condition, she has not yet left home.

A few years ago, she was hospitalized at Tel Hashomer for a period, and indeed her condition seemed to improve, but very soon after her release, she returned to the same place, the safe and familiar one. I ask for her permission to photograph the meeting; she agrees and tells me she hasn’t been photographed in almost 10 years.

Neta no longer remembers what triggered her illness, which in itself makes me sad. She used to be a ballet dancer; now I understand the height and the upright walk that probably remained from those days. Today, she depends on her parents in every possible way. Recently, she started going out to her father’s office and learning a bit of accounting, which brings her a new interest. I talk and talk, hoping that something in my words will move her, reminding her that despite being ill for so long, she is only 21.

She can still decide differently, and make a change. She looks at me with her big, beautiful eyes, speaks slowly in a small, quiet, and exhausted voice, and describes to me a hard and sad daily routine. I ask her whom she chooses to share with, and am surprised when she says no one—not her parents, not friends. 24 hours inside her own head.

Before I leave, she shows me amazing handmade crafts she makes: delicate and beautiful flowers from tea bag wrappers, an incredible labor of precision and patience. I look at her works. They are beautiful and fragile—just like her. The flowers look real and amazing but lifeless. Neta chooses to imagine her life in 8 years, which in itself is very moving to me. She has all the tools to get there; she just needs to make a decision.”

Neta’s flowers

Update sent to the crowdfunding project supporters, 15.03.2013:

After almost three months, the fifth painting in the 2020 project is complete. Neta came to my home, delicate, tall, and beautiful—just as I remembered her. I hadn’t quite remembered how thin she was. She brought me a gift of delicate paper flowers made from tea bags, beautiful and fragile just like her.

Each time, it makes me anxious. The moment when I reveal to each participant their painting for the year 2020. With Neta, I was even more nervous, mainly because she was coming to my home and also because of her additional condition, OCD. I cleaned the house all morning, wanting her to feel comfortable when she saw her painting. I put the cats in a room and took a shower…

Now I’m ready. And now she’s here, on my green couch in the living room, excited to see her future. I present her with the painting, and she asks for a few minutes to look at it, examining it quietly and then asking me to explain. After a long pause, she says she loves the result.

Although it’s hard to see what she really thinks, I feel she connects with it, and that’s good enough for me. It makes me happy to know that from now on, the painting will hang in her room, in front of her eyes, in the morning when she wakes up and at night before she goes to bed. Everything she wishes for herself in 2020 through my eyes: optimism, light, and love.

From the process of creating the painting

Neta wants to start studying next year. Her parents are a bit skeptical about it. Even if her plans are postponed due to her health condition, I am very pleased that she has plans.

PAPER FLOWERS | Neta’s painting

PAPER FLOWERS | Neta’s painting

Photos from the 2020 project 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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