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International Women’s Day: In Conversation With Inspiring Creatives

Today marks our third instalment of our month-long International Women’s Day series, where we feature prominent, trailblazing women. In this series, we spoke to Hannah Kim, Rebekah Ma and Joanna Lee, co-founders (and sisters) of ai, Lilian Umurungi-Jung of Mumgry, and artist Quinn Rockliff. S/ asked all of these women two important questions: How do women inspire you in your personal life and your work? and how do you celebrate women all year round? Get inspired by their responses below.

Lilian Umurungi-Jung of Mumgry

Photo Courtesy of Mumgry.

“In my personal life my mother, sister and sister-friends inspire me to keep learning and never give up in the face of adversity. The women in my life are the most resilient, brilliant and loving human beings.  For as long as I live, I’ll do everything I can to match their wisdom, generosity and beauty.  Long before I became an entrepreneur, Black women entrepreneurs have always inspired me the most – they are my superheroes.  It’s a fact that Black women continue to experience occupational and economic disadvantages because of racism and sexism.  So, when a Black woman breaks the glass ceiling or overcomes a system designed for us to fail, I’m celebrating their win regardless of whether or not I know them personally. Nothing feels better than celebrating a win for the culture and gender.

I’m very mindful of what companies I conduct business with or support monetarily.  When approached by retailers that are women owned, I get most excited and can’t wait to spread the word about their shop!  As a consumer I’ll always prioritize and celebrate women-owned businesses. When I turned 30 and started adulting and understanding my purchasing power, it changed my lifestyle forever.  Since then I’ve tried my best to make an impact with every dollar I spend and new venture I get involved in.  It requires effort and due dilligence but it’s part of my DNA now.”

Hannah Kim, Rebekah Ma and Joanna Lee, Co-Founders (and sisters) of ai

Photo Courtesy of ai.

“Sharing stories and keeping strong connections with other women has inspired us so much. Strong women around us continually remind us that it’s progress, not perfection.  And more importantly, attitude is a choice, especially during difficult times!

Collectively we support and encourage the women we partner with. We make it our priority to support other female-owned and led businesses. Also, having daughters of our own, (nieces for our youngest sister) we make a conscious effort to raise and encourage strong girls.”

Quinn Rockliff, Artist

Photo Courtesy of Quinn Rockliff.

“There are so many rules, and ultimately lies, we have been told we need to follow in order to be wanted, beautiful, believed, or successful. Every day I paint nude self portraits to challenge the things I have been taught about my body and heal from the things it has experienced. So much of my strength to do so has come from conversations with women. Connected by Small frustrations shared, hours of commiserating over shared traumas, discussions of shared trauma, the all too familiar cycle of defeat turned to anger turned to motivation to challenge the things we have been taught and relearn them on our own.

Outside of my self-portrait practice, I feel so lucky to be trusted by women to paint their bodies. Sometimes photographs of women with their families, sometimes breastfeeding, and often a naked self-portrait they have taken themselves,; the opportunity to translate those moments into art is so important to me. Growing up, I spent a lot of time perceiving and scrutinizing myself through the someone else’s gaze; most often men. When I started painting my body it allowed me to translate myself into art, i was empowered by knowing this practice was, for the first time, for myself. I see this part of my practice as an opportunity to celebrate women throughout all the stages of their lives, helping them find a new lens through which to see themselves and then hang it on the wall and be like hey yeah you know what my body is art.”