We arrived in Palmy on the 5th April 2017 with two suitcases. We didn't really know how it would go or how long we would stay. I had only just met Helen, when she invited me to share her studio space and I really didn't know if the idea would even work. It was cold and mum grizzled a lot about the weather. She said she was only going to stay a few months, to get me settled, then she was going to head up north where it is warmer.
But after a few months, we had decided that we loved Palmy! The art space was working out extremely well, so I booked two exhibitions, one in January 2018 and one for May 2018. That would give me enough time to develop a collection of paintings in response to my journey home.
The exhibition at Space Studio Gallery came around pretty quick. Mum had decided to stay and the months just zoomed by. Our new studio space was perfect for running workshops and show casing my paintings, and the Manawatu Arts Trail was very successful.
Friday 13th January was the opening night for my Journey Home exhibition. We didn't really expect too much of a crowd as we didn't really know many people, but we had a couple of beautiful friends who joined us and the collection looked fantastic on the white walls.
The highlight of the night was meeting Moana Henry. I have had trouble with my name all my life. I was teased at school endlessly, nobody can get it right on the phone and people have even thought that it was my surname. So when someone asked me where it came from? or what it meant? I answered that my mum was drunk at the time! Mum hated me saying this, as she had named me after a women she had met. She was a nurse in Auckland, a twin and someone mum had admired.
Moana had come to the exhibition opening because of my name, she wanted to see who this Froyle was. It turns out that Moana knows my name sake Froyle, she calls her Aunty. Moana knows her whole family and her family are from Whanganui. My name sake Froyle is now 72, a significant Maori woman, who Moana said carries a strong presence.
It was quite an amazing evening, mum got to say, 'I told you so!' and the encounter gave significance to my name, further affirming my identity. I thought it was pretty extrodinary that the first exhibition for my Journey Home collection, was in the home town of my name sake, and I didn't even know!