18 year old TEDx speaker, Kaanchi Chopra from Delhi is viral for her “Artivism”
A unique blend of Art and Activism.
It is common knowledge that a coin has two sides, the same logic can be applied to our perception of ourselves and the world. When we can find time to admire the beauty of creation, it also becomes our unspoken duty to protect the same.
This is 18 year old Kaanchi Chopra’s philosophy of life.
Kaanchi dived into the world of art when she was very young and since then, there was no looking back for her.
A resident of Delhi, Kaanchi has completed her High school and is finding ways to broaden her outlook and reach out to the rest of the world by studying design abroad.
“The world is my classroom”, she says. She has always learned a greater deal in the outside world rather than being confined between walls. The ugly side of society does not scare her, rather, it inspires her and motivates her to thrive towards a change through means of her art.
Being a part of the newer generation, Kaanchi realises that people of her age have to get their priorities set straight and have to exit their dreamlike state. She wishes for the youngsters to face the harsh realities of life and to want to do something about it. Her art doesn’t just stop at awareness, it exceeds way beyond that.
Her aim has been to tackle grave issues like acid attacks, domestic violence, body shaming, menstrual taboos, poverty, mental health and racism which are unfortunately, still very relevant today. She also emphasises the importance of peace and unity as a theme for many of her works.
She has been the sole facilitator of Artivism and has got great appreciation and encouragement for the same.
Through the course of her journey in Artivism for the past seven years, Kaanchi has witnessed her growth. She started from making recycled paper using old newspapers when she was 6, to when she was 10 and was inspired during a drawing competition where the theme was female infanticide. She put everyone in a state of awe when she came up with a brilliant concept wherein she drew a necklace and on one of the pearls she detailed on an image of a girl child crying as she faced the wrath of a sword on her head. And she captioned the same as — ‘Like a necklace is adorned with pearls, a family is adorned with girls. Do not commit this sin, do not kill girls.’
It doesn’t stop there. Kaanchi was awarded by the Child Reach International for a poster she made on poverty. Her work on colour discrimination was appreciated by United Nations AIDS.
Only a few months ago, she made a Taj Mahal that spreads the message of women empowerment. Adobe’s Project 1324 named her as one of the artists who made an impact in 2016.
In November 2015, she began categorizing her work on her personal blog and named it ‘Art and Activism in order to tackle some social stigmas.’
Kaanchi, though had a lot on her plate, with all the school work, household responsibilities and other day-to-day tasks, found the time to impact the world in some manner. She wishes for us all to be able to see this and to extend a hand to better our world.
She spent several sleepless nights trying to get in touch with various organisations via email to gain permission to spend some time and learn from acid attack victims and autistic children.
She worked rigorously researching on these issues and came up with facts and solutions which she presented to her readers. This was to evoke hope.
Most of us think the world is doomed and nothing can be done about it, this is the very attitude Kaanchi hopes to change.
She was ecstatic to see that she had the support of the media. Sites like ‘Youth Ki Awaaz’ and ‘Better India’ gladly featured her work. She was surprised to see her work reaching so many people across the world. The fact that people from different countries contacted her to tell her what an inspiration she was to them humbled her.
She is thankful and overjoyed to see that her work is not being taken lightly and that there has been some positive change. But she understands that this is just the beginning.
Kaanchi’s intention behind pursuing Artivism isn’t to voice out her own opinions. It is to gift a voice and some acknowledgement to victims of such brutality. She feels by doing so, she is showing her share of love and appreciation she has for them and their strength.
She feels that by sharing their stories, people like us will learn to love ourselves and be grateful. She recalls an instance when a lady from Brazil, viewing her work on body-positivity got in touch with her and told her how she began loving her body despite its flaws under the influence of Kaanchi’s art. This is the kind of change she wants to see.
Kaanchi even has given her own TEDx talk and has inspired many.
Her works on menstrual taboos and acid attacks were recently displayed in New York.
She was overwhelmed when Serpil Senelmis, a member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, gave a shout-out to her during a live interview stating that she was an inspiring lady.
Georgina Bradley, also from Australia messaged Kaanchi and told her that her teacher wrote Kaanchi’s name on her classroom board for students to go have a look at her wonderful work.
Kaanchi also taught art to cancer-fighters and gifted them some of her doodles. To her, it was almost as though she could see a spark of life in them because she feels that she really gave them a part of herself. The best thing that happened to Kaanchi post all the media attention was that she was able to connect with more people. She feels awfully lucky to have had the opportunity to come across so many great, experienced minds and to be known to them. People put their faith on her beliefs, this has made her feel all the more responsible to bring the change.
Kaanchi was also an enthusiastic member of the organising committee of the Kickstart Summit 2016 of The Climber. She had her first experience venturing into event management under the company. The experience, to her, was unreal as she got to meet a lot of commendable entrepreneurs who inspired her with their stories and experiences. She got a lot to learn from them:
“It’s never too late to follow your heart. It’s also very crucial to experience failures. When people diss you, show them what you are and what you can really do.” — says Kaanchi.
She also got a chance to meet many young minds and made a lot of good friends along the way. The success of the event had a huge role to play in boosting her confidence. She got hands-on experience of how to go about Marketing, photography, Event management among others.
“You’ll have your bad days, but things will get sorted soon. Just keep going. Realise that you will get what you work for. By grace, through faith. Don’t shy away from asking any kind of help. Especially from the co-founders of The Climber! They always got my back.”
Her journey has just begun and we wish her all the luck in the world!