Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

The Art of Big and Beautiful

This past week I enjoyed a lovely afternoon experiencing the work of Columbian artist Fernando Botero.  His art was featured in a special exhibit in a local art museum.  I felt readers of this blog would appreciate my experience and his work.

Much of Botero’s works depict large people engaged in everyday life.  Many of the paintings on large canvases feel joyful, playful, and beautiful.  The figures are engaged in assorted activities, such as dancing, kissing and general posing for the viewer.  Although the paintings often have a surreal fantasy-like quality, the common theme for me is one of complete respect and honor of large people. 

One of my favorites was a painting of a ballerina.  Posed before a mirror holding a ballet bar, wearing tutu and point shoes, she happily posed in a challenging position known as battement.  It was inspiring to see this large woman happily standing before a mirror.  Her inner critic was nowhere to be seen or felt.  She accepted her body and herself with pleasure and confidence as did the viewer.  How refreshing to see this large ballerina standing artistically strong.

In addition to the paintings Botero also created nude sculptures of men and women.  I loved the large round soft forms that constituted their bodies.  I loved even more seeing these large nude couples sharing love.  It felt like a celebration of their love as well as the love of the human form in its many shapes and sizes.

Just as wonderful was noticing the large women visiting the exhibit.  They could be seen with broad smiles as they stood before Botero’s works.  They seemed to feel honored and accepted as they enjoyed and appreciated Botero’s sensitivity to the beauty of big.

Maybe he will inspire real life as a reflection of his art.  Big and beautiful!   


Robin Okun, LMSW, is a certified Nia Instructor, Movement Therapist, Center for Eating Disorders, Director of Mindful Movement Studio, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-395-2624,

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About Ellen Shuman

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I have worked in the Wellness Field for 30 years. I created an Emotional Eating & Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Program way before most people knew BED was an eating disorder, NOT a “willpower” issue. Personally, I suffered for years before finding answers and the help I needed and deserved! I became a Coach in 1997 to help others who were still suffering as I had. I love being a Coach!


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