On International Women’s Day 2021 I take the opportunity to honour and pay respect to Aotearoa, New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud, for progressively despite its small size being the first country in the world to grant the woman the right to vote in 1893 and likewise being the first country to greet the sun on the First Prosperous New Dawn of Each New Year. Blessed with the first sunrays on Earth, New Zealand looks up to the sky, opens up to vast horizons and basks like a sun-drenched and shimmering “paua”-shell in the magnitude of its own natural beauty. Closely connected to New Zealand is my graceful birth mother blessed by ethereal beauty, her heart divided yet whole at the same time. She feels at one with her earth mother Aotearoa with every pore of her body and is spiritually as much a part of its deep valleys and open plains as she is now both physically and mentally at home in the southernmost vastness of her native Sweden.

The Cranes China. Florence Broadhurst wallpaper

On a day of celebration of the female spirit, I dedicate this piece to a multifaceted woman; My mother the Wanderer, Seeker and Explorer who found her second home on a small island on the other side of the world and who is my own spiritual guide  ̶  always by my side on every path I tread, as am I in spirit by her side. As I ponder the many chapters of my mother’s life, her long and eventful career, her depth, courage and feistiness, her energy and positivity, the optimism and stoicism with which she opens up every new page in her book of life, I can’t help but compare her with another woman; one whose existence I only recently became aware of and yet she feels so familiar to me already. Of a different era, from a different nation and given a different start in life, Australia’s own Florence Broadhurst (1899-1977) set off on a journey not all that dissimilar from that of my mother; leaving her native land at a young age in search for adventure far away from home as she once knew it. Venturing across long distances, she tried out several new careers and fluidly adopted different identities until she found her true calling in Design: as a painter, printer and pattern-maker.

Bold, intrepid travellers driven by a trust in people, firm in their conviction that you can get further and higher if you set your mind to it, and strong in their belief in their own power, strength and potential, Ingwor Holmqvist and Florence Broadhurst are soul sisters travelling through different times and setting out on their own journeys of self-discovery and self-realization. And yet their lives converge, on reflection, in the here and now: two spirits choosing to flow with the times, and to boldly embrace opportunities when they come along. Seize the day,  live life to the fullest, search and you shall find. To experience life more intensely, they ventured further, explored greater depths, broke away from their comfort zone and found their true selves in the process. Long live international women, long live Ingwor and Florence for being pioneers in the art of life-making. In that space of exuberant abandon we shall find Love.