Juggling work and art as a mother is definitely a tough spot to be in — especially in the past couple of years when a global pandemic made things even harder.
Pandemic-induced motherhood burnout, however, was also the boon in disguise that brought together two Malaysian female artists and experienced career professionals, Lay Hoon Ho (better known in the art world as Arty Guava) and Tricia Pang.
Pang and Arty Guava’s was a chance meeting after the former saw the mural of four dancing women against a blue, floral background that the latter had painted on a building in Canada as part of the 2021 edition of the Vancouver Mural Festival.
At the time, both women were juggling motherhood and full-time jobs while feeling socially isolated from the pandemic. They also both knew they wanted to do life differently – one with more balance and connection.
“As busy working mothers, we know that it can be difficult to find time to connect with people in real life,” said Pang to Eksentrika.
They certainly reinvented their lives: they quit their jobs to launch Guava Girls, an NFT brand and community dedicated to balance seekers.
Arty Guava said that once she started to “acknowledge my own limitations and stopped chasing after this elusive dream of ‘doing it all’, the balance came quite naturally”.
The two are now forging ahead with the launching of their genesis collection for the Guava Girls NFT project — all despite the current economic conditions, and a serious crash in the cryptocurrency market.
With only 4.13% of crypto women entrepreneurs around the world, the Guava Girls project has the important aim to amplify the vision and voices of women in web3.
“Although the NFT space is really young, it has already become exclusionary of women, so we want to change that from the start and encourage more females to enter and have access to the same wealth and opportunities available to men in the space,” Pang told Eksentrika.
Their generative series of NFT art then comes from the heart and is developed on the central subject of a “Guava Girl” who’s both placidly moving and balancing things and objects on her hands and head — a moon, hourglass, papaya, a bird, shells, and leaves among others.
There are more than 500 lovingly hand-drawn traits by visual artist, Arty Guava, which were in turn carefully reviewed by a diverse team of ten community members.
Because the collection is highly relatable, it soon captured the attention of other established women-led NFT and crypto-based platforms such as My BFF, Curious Addys, WoW Pixies, and others.
At its core, the Guava Girls brand and community provide a sanctuary in the chaos of web3 for women to connect and practice self-care while learning more about blockchain technology.
“We have developed an online community with collectives of entrepreneurs, parents, and artists, who use the space to support one another, grow their careers, and better themselves,” explained Pang.
“We are trying to use our NFT as a means to incentivize people to care for themselves and for others, and encourage them to be their best selves through daily activities”.
Earlier in 2021, some Malaysian artists like Kuala Lumpur-based graffiti artist Abdul Hafiz Abdul Rahman, better known as Katun, earned big with NFTs. Katun sold two of his NFT collections for an impressive 127.6 ETH (which equals RM1.6 million/US$ 400,000).
Even other Malaysian female artists like Red Hong Yi moved their first steps in the world of NFTs with pieces like “Doge to the Moon” and “Memebank” which, unlike traditional NFT work, also provided physical copies of the artworks to their buyers.
But in the year 2022, with the unprecedented crash of cryptocurrencies worldwide and market values that reached their historical lows, the reasons behind making NFTs seem to be lesser and lesser about jumping on “a get rich quick” bandwagon.
“We see the current market conditions as a market correction in a very young industry, and over time we expect it to level out,” said Pang, who believes that because of the current low exchange rate of cryptocurrencies, now is a great time to enter the NFT space more affordably and collect NFTs.
“To adapt to the change in the market, we needed to be flexible,” explained Pang. “Projects typically launch a multi-thousand NFT collection all at once in hopes to sell out, but we took a different approach by deciding to launch in phases, and grow our collection size as our community grows, in its own time”.
Pang also believes that the current market conditions are good to build so that when the industry ramps up again, they will be at the forefront and ready to take off.
“I think the space is [still] hungry for diverse perspectives and aesthetics,” said Arty Guava.
“Malaysian and Southeast Asian artists, coming from a place so rich in culture and history, definitely have something unique and valuable to bring to the table,” she said.
“I’m really excited to see them continuing to grow their influence in the world of art”.
Cover image supplied by Guava Girls.