Exploring the (metaphorical!) meaning behind the graphic muse we love at GlobalNiche.net: creative enterprise for the global soul.
Here's the mini tweet story (see it in proper format at Storify.com) of our whimsical pioneer of a woman peering out from the center of her own personal compass point.
This is how I made her, where she comes from, what she's survived -- and also, circumstantially, why she's so well-coiffed.
- …a little bit about GlobalNiche's graphical muse -- pictured above
Just thought I'd tell you a bit about how this image came to be. It's part photograph, part 2nd generation photocopy, and part Photoshop.
I made it in 1997ish in my ergonomic, air-conditioned office in the suburban sprawl of Kuala Lumpur. There were very few people nearby who understood what I was doing or why I wanted to do it. Luckily I did it anyway!
- I spotted this whimsical woman on a fading coiffeur signboard in Sarawak, Borneo
Photography is a now-not-so-secret love of mine, and it was a saving grace of my first long-term expat stint in Southeast Asia. Seeing everything with a photographer's eye made my surroundings endlessly fascinating and ripe with opportunity, no matter what else was happening or how I was feeling. It was also a key to orienting myself, following leads, making connections between the past and the present cultures.
The quickly-disappearing antique commercial signboards of the Straits Settlements (Penang, Malacca and Singapore) were a particular favorite of mine. You can imagine when I landed in Sarawak I went straight to the old town to see the remnants of what establishments had once flourished there.
Although the inevitable lag of fashion around the world might be at work here, from her hairstyle I guess the sign went up in the 1930s-40s. If anyone guesses differently, let me know please!
- the compass superimposed over her eye (self-image, get it?) is from an around-the-world cruise line ad
- the round-the-globe ad was published during the Golden Age of Travel. I found it in the National Archives of Malaysia
I was an absolute microfiche *bandit* at the National Archive....here you can see some of the Straits Settlements newspaper gossip items and police blotters I captured. Hilarious, tragic, telling stuff no matter what the subject (whether it was Somerset Maugham's buttoned-down planters going nuts/running amok, or infectious diseases being passed around by the Chinese laundry services, or opium dens being raided, the place was off-the-hook).
The steamer-trunks-and-servants Golden Age of travel was also an interest piqued by the region, and I explored it for a web venture Flaming East.
- in land of White Rajas (Conrad's early heartofdarkness?), she seemed 1) out of place 2) possibly mistress of her domain
- The White Rajahs were a dynasty of Brits who ruled Sarawak for about a hundred years during the mid-19th-20th century.
Joseph Conrad, who wrote Heart of Darkness, had earlier written Lord Jim, which may have been based in part on the experiences of the first White Rajah James Brooke.
At GlobalNiche.net we're not conquering anything except perhaps our situations (setting up our own private rajs?), but this historical background was swirling around the image of the coiffed lady when I snapped it as a displaced Western woman in the tropics myself. To me, the context was captured along with the image.
Being yourself *and* at home in a place very different than what you've known or been prepared for -- that remains a most enticing feat for people like me. Out of place, and mistress of her domain...that is the GlobalNiche combo!
- GlobalNiche's muse is a woman in the wild following her personal compass where ever around the world it might take her
And in conclusion...just as the Golden Age of Travel revolutionized the possibilities of exploring the world with confidence
at GlobalNiche.net we're operating globally with the ease of digital nomadism and with the precision of a unique sense of who we are
...suddenly our historical heroine is thoroughly modern, and appropriate for today's unbounded age.
- our muse is a #pioneer centered by her personal compass in an age when traveling with speed/style/grace is perfected
Tell us what you see in our compass woman. What name would you give her? (I think we're going to need one!)
Causes Anastasia Ashman Supports
Vipassana Meditation Instruction (dhamma.org) Ashoka Organization of Social Entrepreneurs (ashoka.org)