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International Women's Day Month:
Esther Liang

International Women's <strike>Day</strike> Month: <br>Esther Liang

With the arrival of March, we’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day all month long, and to extend our support, we sat down and spoke with eight creative women to highlight their work in practice.

The theme of this year’s IWD is “Break The Bias” — seeking a world free of stereotypes and discrimination where difference is valued and celebrated to create a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

We were fortunate enough to talk with women from Toronto and Vancouver, discussing their careers, achievements, and upbringings while focusing on their artistry and individuality. They welcomed us into their homes, studios, and workspaces to get a feel about who they are, what they do, and why International Women’s Day is important to them.



Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
My name is Esther Liang and I am a surrealist artist based in Vancouver and Toronto. My main mediums include drawing and painting, digital art, animation, and sculpture. In my practice, I research the topics of dreams, psychology, and social justice while constantly exploring new mediums. I am the creator of online custom accessory brand @liangarchive and a non-profit organization called @arteurcollective which supports and empowers Asian creatives to pursue their craft while inspiring one another.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
To me, International Women’s Day is a day where we celebrate every single woman. It is a day where we remember the women throughout history who have taken us where we are today, the women who are mothers, the women who are pursuing their careers, the women who are battling hardships, the women who are transitioning, or the women who simply need a break to nurture their bodies and souls. Every woman is brave, successful, and worth celebrating. To me, International Women’s Day is a reminder for us to empower and inspire one another, to celebrate our differences, and remember the power we hold individually and as a whole.


How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurial roles/creative careers?
If you would like to try something like picking up a new creative tool, don’t think about the outcome and just play around first. Although referencing existing creatives is very helpful, sometimes being overwhelmed with other people’s work can subconsciously set certain expectations for yourself that may limit your creative freedom. Test out the medium before doing too much research, and just have fun like how you would as a child first discovering something new.

Which women inspired you growing up and why?
Every woman in my life has positively influenced me in different ways and I am thankful for each of them. However, two women that have inspired me the most are my mother and my sister. My stay-at-home mom established a career out of zero job experience and no financial support to raise my sister and I after her divorce. I still cannot imagine being in her position and being as strong as her. She is my biggest fan and supporter regardless of what I choose to do. She will always redirect my attention whenever I get off track, and her constant lectures and nagging have become something I look forward to now that I’ve moved away. My sister is the most patient and creative person I know. She always inspires me to be a better person and there is no one else I connect better with than I do with her. I am who I am today because of my mom and my sister and I love them very much.



Knowing where you are now, what advice would you give to your younger self that's just starting out?
As a growing artist, I’ve learned three things while trying to achieve my goals. The first is to celebrate all of my failures. The second is to give it my all in everything I do regardless of the stakes. And the third is to look further ahead, keep a positive view, and not be troubled by the small things before me.

Which aspects of your career are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the knowledge I’ve gained and skills I’ve developed throughout my creative journey. I know this sounds like a cheesy answer, but this is the only thing that will stay with me regardless of where I am. It is a ladder that is constantly building and it’s what I value the most moving forward.

Do you have a favourite moment from Nike’s longstanding history of empowering women?
One of my favourite moments of Nike empowering women is the introduction of “femvertising”, a word that strives to break the stereotypes society has set for women and to liberate us from its structure. Growing up in a culture that values men over women, I’ve learned to belittle myself in order to appear as presentable. Nike’s goal to reshape the representation of women within advertisements makes me feel emotional and hold hope towards the future. 


For more from Esther Liang, you can check her out at @3stherl.

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International Women's Day Month:
Monica Fernandes