Stefania Tejada grew up in Tuluá, a small town in west Colombia, with an abundance of wildlife. The rainforest of her childhood would later be a key setting for many of her figurative paintings, just as the community of women who provided her with advice and guidance would inspire her female-led pieces. When she turned to illustration, they inspired her to focus on representing powerful and empowered women. Tejada believes that their journeys live through her and that her paintings work as a way to heal trans-generational wounds.
Passionate about literature and fashion, Tejada studied fashion design, introducing her to the work of artists Henri Rousseau (1844 – 1910) and Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944). It was in Mexico she decided to turn her passion into a practice, with her drawings taking her to Barcelona and Paris, the latter where she is currently based. There, Tejada started oil painting as a way to convey her observations about life such as conditioned behaviours, exploring her own inner nature and memories of her home in Colombia.
In a detailed and precise manner, sitting between portrait and landscape, Tejada pieces depict female figures always in the foreground and at the centre of her composition—most often looking the viewer straight in the eye. In the background, a multiplicity of lush leafy motifs. Tejada creates a symphony of cultural and geographical references, where a diversity of natural elements hold great symbolism. The wilderness also symbolises the rawness of human beings. Her women are ‘unleashed’, ‘undomesticated’ and ‘untamed’ reverting back to a natural state; going beyond canonical and patriarchal tales of the connection between women and nature. Having experienced and witnessed what society does to women, Tejada’s figurative realism addresses the complexity of femininity oscillating between pain, anger but also power and hope. Tejada’s work celebrates the multiplicity of the feminine; giving substance to her feminist visions.
But most fundamentally, Tejada’s images are about the experience of being a woman in and from Latin America. Tejada honours diversity, humanity, and various cultural heritage. At the intersection of race, class, and gender, Tejada aspires to convey all aspects of the female experience.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
‘Nocturnal Gods’, The Artistellar, London, UK.
‘Territorial Beings’, Maison Kitsuné Paris, France.
Artistic Directors Club 2021, Category ‘Illustration – Inspiration’.
Bronze, World Illustration Awards, Long-listed.
Selected Group Exhibitions
‘Macondo: Colombian Imaginaries’, London, UK.
‘WünderWomxn’, Beers Gallery, London, UK.
‘Lotes que inspiran, lotes que cuidan’, Galería La Cometa, Bogotá, Colombia.
‘The Every Women Biennial’, LaMama Galleria, New York, US.
‘Concerned Photography Exhibition, Liechtenstein National Museum, Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 2018
‘Ello’, Creative Debuts, London, UK.
‘Posture Magazine, Superchief Gallery, New York, US.
‘Trazos: Ilustrando Moda’, Galería Breve, Mexico City, México.
Follow Stefania Tejada on Instagram@stefaniatejada