The article “Las mujeres de Tejada” [Tejada’s Women] by the art critic and curator Miguel González (b. 1950) is an essential resource for those who wish to understand the evolution of the series of woman-objects created over a ten-year period (1968 to 1978) by the artist Hernando Tejada (1924-1998), not to mention his importance in the world of Colombian art.
In the late 1960s, after working with painting, drawing, and historical murals, Tejada produced a series of woman-objects whose Spanish titles were a play on words involving a woman’s name and the function of the object in question, which was a perfect example of the humor that distinguished both his life and his work. “Tejadita” (as he was known in Cali) was also known for his self-confidence and love of women, both of which stood him in good stead when he decided to direct and act in his own movies. The names of the woman-objects in the series are: Teresa la mujer mesa [Teresa the Table Woman] (1969), Sacramento la mujer asiento [Sacramento the Chair Woman] (1970), Isadora la lechuza mecedora [Isadora the Rocking Chair Owl] (1971), Abigail la mujer atril[Abigail the Lectern Woman] (1972), Leonor el tocador [Leonor the Dressing Table] (1973), Paula la mujer jaula [Paula the Cage Woman] (1974), Estefanía la mujer telefonía [Estefanía the Telephony Woman] (1975), Mónica filarmónica [Philharmonic Mónica] (1976), and Violeta la mujer cometa [Violeta the Comet Woman] (1978). In this series of sculptures, Tejada glorifies female sexual attributes and assigns mechanical functions to parts of a woman’s body. In Estefanía la mujer telefonía, for example, the dialing mechanism is mounted in one of her breasts, her lips are the microphone, and her hand is the audio receiver.
Hernando Tejada studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes [National School of Fine Arts] (now the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia [National University of Colombia’s School of Visual Arts]) from 1945 to 1947. Later, from 1949 to 1951, with the help of Alejandro Obregón (1920-1992)—who at the time was the director of the School—he worked there as a professor. Some of his woman-object sculptures were exhibited at events such as the II y III Bienal de Arte de Coltejer [2nd and 3rd Coltejer Art Biennials] (1970 and 1973, respectively).
Since the 1970s, Miguel González has been the best-known art critic and curator in Cali. He started his curating career in 1971 when he founded the Corporación Ciudad Solar—with Hernando Guerrero (b. 1948) and Francisco “Pakiko” Ordóñez (b. 1949). He directed several exhibition spaces during the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1985 joined the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia in Cali as the museum’s curator. In 2005, he published the book Apuntes para una historia del arte en el Valle del Cauca durante el siglo XX [Notes for a History of the Art of the Valle del Cauca in the Twentieth Century] and until the present day has worked as an art history professor at the Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes [Departmental Institute of Fine Arts] in Cali.