The Art of Maternity: 'God Save The Queens' Mother’s Day marks a time to champion the maternal power that creates, nurtures and inspires us throughout our lives. In celebration of this special day and mothers everywhere, our Art Series continues with The Art of Maternity: ‘God Save The Queens’. Photographer Michele Yong brings her exceptional eye for aesthetics to lens this series of modern renditions of famous paintings that feature mother figures. The campaign provides a glimpse into the lives of four powerful mothers and their inspiring careers: Julie Woon, Ung Yiu Li, Jo ng Wei Wei and Tracey Cheong. UNG YIU LIN “Mother and Child” by Gustav Klimt Meet the self-made entrepreneur with over a decade's worth of experience in fashion. She believes in the power self-love and poise when faced with the many challenges of being a mother. How would you define motherhood in your own words? It’s about being very selfless, and putting all your needs second. The whole experience is priceless to me, you cannot put a price on the lessons learned through parenthood. What was the best advice on motherhood you ever received? When I had Zara, our first born, I was being bombarded with other people’s opinions which was overwhelming. I realised that no matter how much you prepare or how much you think you know, it comes down to using your intuition when the time comes. Whether it’s dealing with “mom guilt” or coming to terms with what you have sacrificed. I often see moms beating themselves up for not doing enough. I encourage them all to give themselves a pat on the back for doing one of the hardest jobs in the world: raising a child. What has being a mother taught you about life? You need to make life count. It’s not something that has a fixed value, it’s constantly changing and for that I treasure every single second with my kids and family. It’s the gratification and satisfaction you get from being with your family. What empowers you as a mother and a woman in today's world? Being able to make my own decisions that are right for me and the children. It’s something all women need to strive for – to be able to make any decisions we want without holding back. In this pandemic, we’ve come to a collective realisation that having a strong family unit is everything. If the family is strong, then society is strong. It makes me introspect on how I can set a powerful example for my children. JONG WEI WEI “Titania” by Frederick Howard Michael Meet the multi-faceted career woman who has made a name for herself in fashion and F&B. Her raw honesty about the highs and lows of motherhood are illuminating. How would you define motherhood in your own words? You want to speed it up and slow it down yet you want them to be grown ups and babies at the same time. It’s exhausting, inspiring, soul-sucking and purpose-giving. What was the best advice on motherhood you ever received? A wise woman once told me: “We should never feel ashamed for the way we choose to mother our children”. We go through pregnancy alone, bearing nine long months of nausea, pelvic pain, bone-deep fatigue and countless other obstacles. We come out stronger than before. So be you and be happy. A happy mum raises happy kids. What has being a mother taught you about life? I never knew how much love my heart could contain for someone until my daughter appeared in this world and called me her mother. There is nothing in life more uplifting than holding your child in your arms. What empowers you as a mother and a woman in today's world? Contrary to the belief that a working mother is not a good mother, I strongly believe that a working mother can be a better mother as these positive qualities will influence her children. The children are able to see how women can have multiple roles – as a caregiver, an independent woman, a breadwinner and someone who binds the family together. This progressive outlook will help empower them in their future workplace and family-life. JULIE WOON “Portrait of Artist's Mother” by Vincent van Gogh Meet the public personality whose winning charm has catapulted her to becoming a national icon. Firm in her belief that motherhood is a continuous journey of love, growth and self-discovery, Julie has infinite wisdom to impart. How would you define motherhood in your own words? Motherhood is a continuous journey of love, growth and self-discovery as we learn to do things we never knew we could. But it’s not always easy. Naturally, I’m faced with new challenges every day but overcoming them is all part of the learning process. What was the best advice on motherhood you ever received? Be present and enjoy every moment because being a mother is truly a blessing. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and forget how fortunate I am to be a mother so this advice is very valuable. What has being a mother taught you about life? Being a mother has taught me patience, self-sacrifice and unconditional love and that every moment is a gift that should be treated with gratitude. What empowers you as a mother and a woman in today's world? My desire to be an independent woman of substance whom my children will look up to empowers me to be better everyday. They are my biggest motivators, cheerleaders and one of the reasons I continue to grow as a person. TRACEY CHEONG “Ophelia” by Jules Joseph Lefebvre Meet the model, mother and social media maven that has teamed up with the likes of Chanel, Sulwhasoo and Shiseido. Ever-striving to live in the moment, her experiences as a mother are universally relatable. How would you define motherhood in your own words? Motherhood is an amazing journey that is full of possibilities. I never cease to be surprised. Whether I’m learning something new about myself or growing through hardships, I love each and every moment of it. What was the best advice on motherhood you ever received? Just enjoy it, kids grow up too fast! One moment you’re holding them in your arms, the next they’re already off to school. Cherish every moment. What has being a mother taught you about life? A truly selfless unconditional love for my child. Until I became a mum, I wasn't aware of just how much capacity we have for love. What empowers you as a mother and a woman in today's world? Being a mum has transformed me into a stronger person, both mentally and physically. Every obstacle, hardship, success and joy has been an evolution. I wouldn't trade it for the world.