Inaugural Linda Stein Upstander Award recipient honors Indian artist

July 19, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The first recipient of the Linda Stein Upstander Award, administered by Penn State University Libraries, is Isha Yadav from Guagon, India.

image of smiling woman with long dark wavy hair and wearing colorful vest

Isha Yadav from Guagon, India, is the the inaugural winner of the Linda Stein Upstander Award administered by Penn State University Libraries. Yadav is a doctoral candidate at Ambedkar University, assistant professor at Delhi University, creator of socially engaged art and founder of a nonprofit all-women support community and the Delhi Art Slam.

IMAGE: provided by Isha Yadav

Yadav is a doctoral candidate at Ambedkar University, assistant professor at Delhi University, creator of socially engaged art and founder of a nonprofit all-women support community and the Delhi Art Slam. She said she hopes to “create community art to speak up against gender disparities faced by marginalized communities especially in local and regional South Asian communities.”

The Linda Stein Upstander Award honoring Joyce and Diane Froot annually supports social justice activists from around the world whose artistic or scholarly work promotes upstander activities.

Yadav’s winning application describes her goal to create the "Museum of Rape Threats and Sexism," a digital installation "created with crowd-sourced screenshots of rape threats, violence, sexist remarks and genitalia that women receive in their inboxes every day.” The project relates to the theme of Yadav’s doctoral dissertation, which focuses on participatory art practices and feminist politics.

To pursue her project, Yadav will receive $1,500 and will have full access to Penn State’s Linda Stein Art Education Collection and Stein’s digital archives at Smith College, as well as her websites haveartwilltravel.org and lindastein.com. Yadav’s resulting work will be published in ScholarSphere, Penn State’s online institutional repository managed by the University Libraries.

“Linda is a great friend, and I was happy to gift this award and connect people from around the world with Linda’s art education archive at Penn State. Isha is a perfect choice because her art and scholarship are inspired by Linda and now Isha has this award to help the marginalized speak up through her own art,” said donor Diane Froot.

Stein said, “Isha and her work is exactly why this award was established. I am thrilled Isha is the first recipient of the Linda Stein Upstander Award because her work will be important to our understanding of gender disparities, especially in a caste system like India’s. I am grateful to Diane and Joyce for their friendship so together we can recognize scholars and artists like Isha with this award.”

According to Yadav’s artist statement, her project aims "to depict structural violence and the rape culture to create an intervention — not only to display threats but also record and co-curate responses of women who have internalized them as part of the new normal." Yadav said her intention in creating the museum is to memorialize the collective past that delves into political violence; expand viewers’ and contributors’ understanding of victimhood and sexual violence; and urge them to report and seek constitutional justice for the same.

Applicants for the Linda Stein Upstander Award are expected to have specific plans to research archival materials from the Linda Stein Art Education Collection in the University Libraries’ Eberly Family Special Collections. “My archives elucidate how my work is attuned to marginalized voices," said Stein, "and how it scrambles dominant narratives to speak truth to power."

An online legacy statement about the Linda Stein Upstander Award describes Joyce Froot and Linda Stein’s friendship spanning nearly five decades and Froot’s active collection of Stein’s artwork.

Justice activists from around the world whose artistic or scholarly work promotes upstander activities are encouraged to apply for the Linda Stein Upstander Award. The annual application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1.

  • photo portrait of woman

    The Linda Stein Upstander Award is named for artist Linda Stein, whose art and educational initiatives explore social justice, and the dichotomies of power/vulnerability, masculinities/femininities, and war-making/peacemaking. Award applicants should have specific plans to research archival materials from the Linda Stein Art Education... Read more ›

    IMAGE: photo provided
Last Updated July 19, 2021