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Settle Anywhere - A conversation with Anyaa Dev

'Settle Anywhere' is a series dedicated to chronicling the lives of people whose idea of “home” has evolved with their various significant movements. We talk to some of these people to understand more about these movements and their influences on their work and life, and about how they manage to settle just about anywhere.

Anyaa Dev

Anyaa Dev grew up in Delhi in a family of travel enthusiasts. "Every summer we would go visit a new country, rent a car, and just drive. So I got to see a lot of the world and realised early on that I was never meant to live in one place," she says.

At 17, she attended Central Saint Martins in London, graduating with a BA in Graphic Communication Design, and then returned to India for some time. “I really spent a lot of time figuring out who I wanted to be in London and was heartbroken for a while when I had to move back to Delhi. But now I’m so glad I did, because I took that time to discover all the incredible things happening in my own country and felt more connected to where I come from than ever before. Indian contemporary aesthetic is pure and ungentrified, and that is something powerful.”

However, feeling a bit stuck in her career and life in India after a while inspired her to move to Amsterdam, where she currently works as creative art director at Wieden+Kennedy. For this edition of ‘Settle Anywhere’, Anyaa talks to us about how Amsterdam went from being small and claustrophobic to being magical for her.

The Ups and Downs

"I think what’s most beautiful about living in a new place is the amazing people and perspectives you encounter. For me, living in a foreign place strangely reaffirms who I am - an Indian woman who is proud to be one," she says when asked about the best part of her time in Amsterdam.

Like with any place, finding your own version of home in a new country isn’t without its inconveniences. "The most challenging part of moving to a new place is the uncertainty - adapting to new cultures and establishing yourself as your own entity. I think it’s really important to remember where you came from. To love your roots and to not give in to the glamorised West while still learning to adapt," she adds.

"It’s always interesting to take something and put it where it doesn’t belong because it tends to work better in a more unexpected context."

The Transition

Her approach to feeling more "settled" as she started from scratch in Amsterdam was to get out there and meet people. "Making your home feel homey and prioritising your mental health also help. Following a routine during weekdays is a great way to get attuned to your new life."

The Inspiration

Anyaa’s inspiration in her new home draws heavily from the one she left behind. For her, influence is a mere extension of one’s identity, especially when it comes to work. “I was given the chance to bring my brown, feminine perspective to the company. It’s always interesting to take something and put it where it doesn’t belong because it tends to work better in a more unexpected context,” she says.

Here’s where you can read more about Anyaa’s life and work.