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The Art Of Surviving Anorexia

Meltdown, Puzzled, Missing Piece by Judith Shaw

By Karen Weintraub
Guest Contributor

Judith Shaw never meant to create art.

She was just annoyed at a “really pedantic” assignment in her recovery program, to make a timeline of her life with anorexia. She was in her 50s, had raised a family and had a career – unlike the other participants, who were adolescents or 20-somethings. And she couldn’t write a history of key events in her eating disorder, because that would mean distinguishing her anorexia from herself.

Instead, she made a life-sized portrait. And somehow a switch flipped in her brain. Making art could allow her to express what she had long kept deep inside.

That self-portrait was the first of many artworks Shaw would make as she came to terms with giving up her anorexia and claiming a new life.

Next Thursday, Shaw’s art goes on exhibit at Harvard, in the Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH) Penthouse level, 59 Shephard Street, in Cambridge. The exhibit is open to the public that first night from 8-10 p.m., and then to the Harvard community through March 10. Continue reading