The Fresh List 2018: Isha Yadav | Verve Magazine
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January 23, 2018

The Fresh List 2018: Isha Yadav

Text by Zaral Shah

Known for founding the Delhi Art Slam, Isha Yadav works towards bringing art closer to the public by organising events in city spaces that are open to all

A mental health activist, street artist and ‘slam poet’ who is also an assistant professor at the University of Delhi and a research scholar at Ambedkar University Delhi with two master’s degrees under her belt, Isha Yadav’s accomplishments are interestingly varied! She is brimming with stories and hopes to create narratives that can accommodate them all.

You, in three words: Passionate, dynamic and havoc-creating.

Your inspirations and icons are…J K Rowling, Gloria Steinem, Susan Sontag, Shilo Shiv Suleman.

The motto you live by is…‘There is no help coming. You’re all you have. So be, say and do all that you can while you can. You’re not a purposeless individual, you have immense power and you’re meant for greater things’.

On your bucket list is…travelling to every country, getting tattoos, adopting a child.

On the challenges along the way: for Delhi Art Slam, trusting my own instinct was one. I learnt that people can be mean, will try to take credit for things they haven’t done, will suck the positivity out of you and leave you with nothing. My team and I have come a long way, and we’re glad we are in this together now.

Your New Year resolution is…to not let self-doubt erode my confidence, to work relentlessly and create resolutely. To trust my own voice, and grow faster and stronger.

Success is…gauged by the impact that I create, the changes I’m able to make. Mental peace. A slowly and steadily evolving mindset of my peers, family and society.

On the year that was: the pot has begun to stir, the storm will come.

If you could have any job for a day, you would be…a spy — on a very Hollywood-like, adventurous, save-the-diamond type of one-day mission.

A dream come true would be…India creating its own Louvre. There are mammoth amounts of art and many artists around the country who are waiting for a grand movement to begin. Be it indigenous, classic, modern or pop art — in the years to follow, all of it needs to come under one glorious roof and script India’s art history and future.

On the way ahead: This year I’m looking forward to starting the Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru Art Slams and finding more conducive ways to use art as an essential tool for social change, activism and mental health awareness. I will begin writing my thesis on feminist art and my first novel; I’m also hoping to cut my hair short and find love!

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