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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Ally Zlatar

Ally Zlatar

Ally is founder of The Starving Artist, an initiative that advocates for systemic reform, helps individuals access treatment for mental health, and creates networks for artists, students, and individuals to process and express their lived experiences. Through her "This Body of Mine" campaign, she also uses creative voices to explore migrant experiences and support artists from refuge-seeking backgrounds. By focusing on auto-ethnography and personal narratives, Ally helps to shine a light on the neglected and untold aspects of people’s lives.  As a practicing artist herself, she creates public art pieces that address issues such as social justice, cultural awareness, and environmental sustainability: the Starving Artist initiative aims to contribute to several of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. 

Ally has faced many challenges that have informed her journey through education and art-making: originally from the former Yugoslavia, she comes from a non-native English-speaking family and is also a first-generation university student. In addition, she was also diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 17, a condition that causes many difficulties both physical and emotional in nature. Despite these obstacles, she has been driven by a desire to help others in similar situations and to give voice to those afflicted with eating disorders. Ultimately, Ally hopes to shape the future of education in a way that is innovative, impactful, and promotes a more just and equitable society. 

Her contribution to the art community has been widely recognised. Ally has been a finalist in many awards and competitions including the 2023 Young Global Changers Recoupling Awards, Young Environmentalist of the Year, and Y20 Indonesia. She is a recipient of the Rising Stars Award for Women in ESGs and the Princess Diana Legacy Award. She has also been a speaker at The Way Ahead, a national initiative for eating disorders in Canada, as well as giving a TEDx talk at the University of Stirling, where she shared her personal journey and the struggles that led her to find her voice through creative arts. As part of the Nanjing Writers Residency in 2021, she participated in dialogues with local writers on topics such as literature’s role in the digital era, the relationship between the female body and art activism, and what mental health means cross-culturally. 

If she wins the 2023 Global Student Prize, Ally plans to develop refugee displacement exhibitions that highlight the struggles and experiences of refugees around the world, collaborating with local artists and community organizations to educate and inspire audiences about the realities of displacement. She would also like to expand her projects into countries like Taiwan and Thailand, which hold enormous potential. Finally, she would like to develop a series of resources for artists to explore creative prompts that could enhance their mental health and well-being. 


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