March 1, 2021

Lucy Tejada, the contemporary artist of tenderness | Culture

Lucy Tejada, the contemporary artist of tenderness | Culture



Perseverance is also a good strategy to discover talent, and that's what he did Lucy Tejada before engaging in art in a professional manner. She was always proud to be able to make a living from the sale of her paintings, but before that came she received notions of her mother's painting, she noticed how her brother worked, also painter Hernando Tejada, and she visited assiduously the exhibitions of Alejandro Obregón , who one day asked her why she went so much to her exhibitions and encouraged her to study Fine Arts.

The Colombian artist is a reference in contemporary art in South America, as well as a pioneer in adopting art as a profession in Colombia, since she never received a grant or a grant from the State. His expressionist works with poetic figuration contain an ideal world, inhabited by characters who are mostly women and children. "My art was always more imaginative. I thought about the composition and I captured it, the colors that emerge according to my state of mind, "Tejada said in an interview.

Lucy Tejada Sáenz was born on October 9, 1920, in the Colombian town of Pereira. She was the second of five children and the whole family suffered the consequences of the economic crisis with changes in the place of residence and also in the work of the father.

In 1941, at the age of 21, Lucy finished high school at the Liceo Benalcázar and became, along with two compañeras, the first graduate as a bachelor in Valle del Cauca. The death of his mother, however, marked the existence of the girl, who traveled to Bogotá to study Art and Decoration at the Javeriana University after having done a plastic arts course with her brother a year earlier.

Animated by the painter Alejandro Obregón, Lucy Tejada He enrolled in 1945 in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the National University of Bogotá, where he forged friendship, as well as with Obregón himself, with Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Edgar Negre, Enrique Grau and María Negreiros, all fifths of the budding artist. There she also met the painter Antonio Valencia Mejía, a student at the School of Fine Arts and founder of the magazine 'Plástica', which would later become her husband.

A year later she began working as an illustrator for the newspapers 'El Tiempo' and 'El Espectador' and participated in the exhibition of Young Sculptors and Painters of Colombia, in which Lucy Tejada won the second prize. From this moment, the recognition of the public and critics made her a very popular artist and she wanted to continue deepening in the study of art and pictorial techniques after participating in numerous local and national competitions and getting different prizes. His decision in 1952 was to make a trip to Europe, where he spent four years touring Spain, France and Romania and studying Engraving at the Royal Academy San Fernando and the School of Graphic Arts in Madrid.

That trip allowed him to discover the great European museums, but all the baggage he acquired was not endorsed economically, losing his savings and returning without money to his hometown in Colombia. "One goes tumbling by the circumstances. When I came from Spain I did it without money and in Pereira they shook my hand. They appeared very dear people, among them Hernando Mejía ", remembered Tejada.

Some of the works he made from 1957 were made in Pereira, the year in which he won the First Prize in the X Salon of National Artists, as the four murals that are still preserved in the city. He had two children with Antonio Valencia, whom he took care of and educated between Pereira and Cali, and worked in the Rialto Club and in the Pereira Freedom Park, as well as in the La Tertulia Museum in Cali and the Luis Ángel Arango Library, from Bogota.

Since the fifties his work had a great international presence, participating even in the biennial in Venice, in São Paulo, in Mexico, in Córdoba (Argentina), in Medellín, in San Juan de Puerto Rico and in Havana (Cuba ), among other countries. To manage his great pictorial legacy, Lucy Tejada, together with his family and closest friends, formed the Foundation that bears his name with the aim of preserving and spreading his work and that of his brother Hernando.

In 1960 he founded, together with María Negreiros, Jean and Mieke Bartelsman, Tiberio Vanegas and his brother Hernando Tejada, Grupo Taller, also called Grupo de Cali, which was the first group of painters who many attribute the cultural awakening of the city.

Lucy Tejada continued to paint and receive prizes, such as the Acquisition Prize in 1962, the First Place of the Tenth Art Festival in 1970 and even the Life and Work Award in 2008, from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, for her long career in painting and his contribution to the art of the country.

However, the last ten years of Lucy Tejada's life were not easy due to a blindness that prevented her from painting. In 2008 the artist visited for the last time the city where she was born, Pereira, to know the cultural center that bears her name.

On November 2, 2011, after staying two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit of the Western Clinic of Cali, Lucy Tejada She died at the age of 91, accompanied by her two children, Claudia and the artist Alejandro Valencia Tejada.

After his death, and fulfilling his will, the family gave the city of Pereira a very valuable collection of 163 pieces of his work with a view to making a permanent public exhibition in the future. Among the projects carried out by the Foundation are the Tejada website and the book on the work of Hernando Tejada.

In the hometown of Lucy Tejada, Pereira, there is the great cultural center that visited and that bears his name, and that is home to the Symphonic Band, the Municipal Library, the exhibition hall, the music, theater, dance and commercial workshops of cultural activities.

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