Today, 8 March 2020, we celebrate Women’s Day internationally and re-evaluate our history as women and artists. Thinking about Giovanna Garzoni (1600 – 1670), a favourite painter of the Medici in Florence and “The Garzoni Challenge” which invites all of us artists to enter into a conversation with her work and produce our own contemporary responses to it on the occasion of the forthcoming Uffizi exhibition “The Greatness of the Universe in the Art of Giovanna Garzoni. 

As I bring together objects found from my travels or gifted by others and research possible compositions and combinations, each object has a history and a story, evoking memories as I cradle a heart shaped piece of coral from a Colombian beach, a boat shaped pod from a walk near Trinidad in Cuba, my son’s coffee pot from Addis Ababa, all spread out on an indigo cloth printed with individual stories from life in Japan – a gift from a Japanese friend in Florence. In the centre, Spring flowers picked in Brighton and arranged in a Florentine vase. Behind is a praying Buddha from Bali, a gift from my yoga teacher. The table and dining chair from our Florence flat. So many journeys and interlinked stories from our expanding Universe…..or is it contracting? Especially poignant on this day as I think of friends scattered across the globe and send my warmest wishes to you all.