Val Resh is an artist / activist fighting for the right to be granted what for most others is a given – full legal capacity.(She gives up on both apparent career choices very often and then goes into a sabbatical until life gives her some ‘sign’ to continue)
Val Resh works with the concept of ‘The Red Door’, first conceptualized by Mixed Media Productions, to create more awareness about issues of mental health in India.
She is also the Founder-Director of MindArcs, which aims at creating spaces for more user/survivors (of psychiatry) to come ‘out of the closet’ and speak about their experiences. However, the space is also open to others who might not have a label/diagnosis but just simply have had different experiences.
Val’s creative work isn’t limited to a paintbrush or sketchpad. Instead, it ranges from poetry to humor, short narratives, painting her clothes and randomly carving things in thin air until they find their way into a real form. Her creations she says do not give her room for rest. “I don’t have a problem with an artist’s block. I think I have too many ideas flooding around me that I sometimes wish I did have multiple arms like our Hindu Goddesses”.
She also helps train / re-train individuals seeking to ‘get fit’ through private lessons. Having survived ‘Reye’s Syndrome’ and currently recovering from a brain tumor (benign), she has learnt how important health is and how often it is taken for granted. Having been trained in Martial Arts since age 7, being active in basketball, dance, tennis and other various sports activities throughout her life, her recovery in all areas seems to have shown a lot more colors than her report cards. “The only way they could control my hyperactivity was to throw me out of class. I either played basketball or painted the walls. Though today, I seem to be having partial ‘body-popping’ dance styles complimentary from my partial body spasms” 🙂 (this is another part of her which tends to withdraw and go into a shell when she sees her body having a life of its own. ‘First they found my mind – and I lost it, then they found a brain – and I lost the body’)
A combination of many layers of talents – it is not a wonder why her head is all over the place. From a painter to a martial artist to a writer to an activist to a mime artist to a nut-cracker to a lone traveler to a face everyone loves to click – she is not a jack of all trade but constantly pushes every stone to master what is underneath it.
What drives her dynamo is her personal story of living with schizophrenia without medications – ‘A Drop of Sunshine‘ She is also an Ashoka Fellow, Ink Fellow and has received the WIN Pune Woman of the Year Award along with SCARF-PII Media for Mental Health Award.
“Sometimes a beautiful boon and sometimes a horrible curse, I don’t really have a choice but to change my perceptions whether I like it or not. I always wish for others to know what it is like, because very often they think it’s easy. I always wish for others to see what I see and experience it even if it might not be as close to what I may experience. But, I hope my art would allow them to do so – because for me – I would never know what it is that they experience which makes any of us any different”
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