Alumni Spotlight: Dilruba Tayfun

“ISA was a place where different voices were plugged in – science, poetry, philosophy and art – filled my conversations with my friends.”

Meet Dilruba Tayfun, an ISA Class of 2013 graduate who graduated from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in Graphic Communication Design, and currently works as an artist and designer based in the Netherlands. 

Dilruba has recently launched her second solo exhibition in Amsterdam, called “Elaborations”, which culminates a new phase of her years-long practice of acting as both custodian and collaborator to natural objects found through exploratory walking. Katrina Harple, curator of the exhibition, is also an ISA Class of 2013 graduate. We are so proud of our alumni!

What were your most memorable experiences at ISA?

Art classes and after school hangouts in the art room with friends from across different IB pathways was by far my fondest memory. This was a place where different voices were plugged in – science, poetry, philosophy and art – filled our conversations. 

How did your time at ISA impact your life?

I made long-lasting, fruitful friendships. My ISA friends are still my longest-standing collaborators in life and in art. With time, you get to develop your gifts together, take risks alongside each other, and support each other’s challenges and successes. It’s been a huge privilege in my life to have my high school friends continue to support my work, and I, theirs. It feels like a family affair. 

What is your current career, and why did you choose that path? 

After four years working full-time as a Graphic Designer, I took a leap and am now working for myself as an artist and designer, leading my own projects. I chose this because it feels it is my calling, it connects me and allows me to create together with all circles of people in my life. 

What advice do you have for others looking to enter into your field of work?

My advice is that you should spend time with yourself, take yourself out on dates, to bookshops and films. Fall in love with the life you have, because your engagement in the good and the bad with your own life and its specificities, people and your own story thus far – is what I believe will inspire curiosity, questions and wonder in others. It will help your friends too to be brave to share their experiences and stories. Give everything a chance and take time to observe and listen to all that is different to you, and while you are doing this, share your findings generously. Be it through words, images, your body, sounds, food. 

What advice or insights do you have for our current ISA students?

Trust your intuition, listen to what draws your curiosity and let that guide your feet, your choices and what you do with your personal time. When you are true to what speaks to you, and you can communicate it somehow, everyone feels it. You may find it’s easier to connect with others when you are able to take leaps to expose what tickles your fancy and find others that share similar interests.

The ISA Alumni Spotlight series aims to showcase the journeys of individuals in our student, teacher and parent alumni communities. We ask them to reflect on how ISA made an impact on their life, and to share their advice on how to carry the mission of international understanding.