Art Focuses on Body Image

Helen Mitternight



Too fat. Too skinny. The way we see our bodies can be unhealthy and, in some cases, is correlated to eating disorders.


The way we see our bodies is the idea behind an art show this Thursday (March 10) at 4th Wall in West Ashley. Mt. Pleasant psychologist Jill Ilagan treats mostly young people with eating disorders and she sees firsthand the consequences of an unhealthy self image.


She brought the idea for the show to Josh Silverman, owner of the 4th Wall, the Avondale gallery formerly known as Jericho Arts. Interestingly, the two met while Silverman was deejay for the Lowcountry High Rollers roller derby team, and Ilagan was one of the High Rollers. The two became friends.


Ilagan suggested the show as a way to raise awareness and local artists entered for a chance to exhibit in “Embodyment of Self.”


“We had about 50 artists who applied and we whittled it down to about half that,” Silverman says. “This is more personal than other shows, and it’s a wide variety of mediums. The works are predominantly from Charleston, but some are from Columbia and one is from Atlanta.”


He says the exhibit includes graphic design, drawing, painting, sculpture and a dance performance by local dancer and salsa instructor Georgia Schrubbe.


The show also will feature some works from the estate of late artist Helen Duckworth and the proceeds from the show will benefit the South Carolina Coalition for Overcoming Eating Disorders.


“This was kind of borne out of trying to meet the twin needs of raising awareness in our community and letting people know that there are people here who treat eating disorders, and making sure people get connected with people locally,” Ilagan says. “These things are oftentimes secretive, and Charleston is such an art-centered place, maybe this was a nonthreatening way to let people know about eating disorders, because people can relate to body image.”


Ilagan says the South Carolina Coalition for Overcoming Eating Disorders is a recently-launched nonprofit by her colleague, Charlotte Caperton-Kilburn, a registered dietician who specializes in eating disorders.


Mental health professionals will be on hand if the show inspires someone to seek help with their own body issues, Ilagan says.


The event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. is free and light refreshments will be served.