Stella S. Franco is kind and fragile. The nostalgia in her permeates into your soul at the first glimpse into her eyes. If lucky, there are a few moments in life where one comprehends at least to some extent, the divineness and solemnity of the essence of women, and the feminine side to life and existence. One may begin to feel some of the emotions of such journey when looking into Stella’s art. But it is not until you listen to her story and look at her work that you are able to grasp the love, the joy and the struggle that it is to be a woman in the turn of the millenium.
Born in Sevilla, Valle, a small town in the Western Andes surrounded by large coffee haciendas, her life began by the end of WWII and the beginning of the Colombian civil war. A time where the color of your affiliation could mean whether you and your family would be dead or alive, free or imprisoned the next day if you were at the wrong place in the wrong time. In her early years she grew up in a Catholic environment, one which would have an important effect on her work, be it by negation or by rebelliousness. She was the second of three sisters which were eventually abandoned by their father who settled up with a second family in another Colombian town in the midst of its bourgeois process. She spent a couple of seasons in a catholic boarding school where she, at the age of four, began to show her innate artistic prowess.
The Nostalgia of Womanhood
Stella S. Franco’s work is a representation of melancholy and how a woman’s life, particularly in our Western society, may be very lonely indeed. Her generation has witnessed an ambiguous dynamic of being, in which the emancipation of certain women in a changing world reinforced the figure of traditional women as a correlated effect. Women began to express their freedom and desires in a variety of ways. The desire for individuality came with its specific kind of loneliness, while the forsakenness of a personal identity in a traditional social- familiar setting implied a certain sense of alienation of the self, be it a conscious or unconscious process. Hence Stella’s work about the mind and in particular about women’s mind. Her work about the abstract and her work about specific objects perform an intriguing and meaningful dynamic to be observed in her art. It all comes down to an approach to the mind from the notions of space and memory.
In the Words of Stella S. Franco
“Something about my work: speaking about my work has always been difficult for me. It feels like a poke to my soul. It makes me answer questions I don’t want to answer. Questions that boil in my head since for ever and cowardliness that impedes me of answering.
But times come about and so does the end of the roads travelled… and now I feel mine closing up. I need to look at myself in the mirror and confront my fears, my insecurities and look ahead to the future. To see if I am able, I’ll see…
The work is a voyage. A trip without a destination, without an agenda, without luggage. A trip where the following voyage will be determined when reaching the end of each road.
But, how does one go by such a trip? I can’t even reach the door… that door that has always been locked and I don’t have any idea where to find the key… I only see four walls around me. Walls that grow up into the sky whenever I try to climb over them.
I wish I was a bird to fly and see the world from afar, from the sky. Sometimes I manage to in my dreams… but I get lost and cannot come down and land again.
I make squares mine, with its four sides and its four angles, I make it my best friend… I talk to it, I ask him many questions and don’t find every answer, or don’t get it. It speaks to my about contention, about four corners looking at each other, without passing judgement, not allowing entries or exits, elevating while feeling threatened… like a jail with a sky view…. the sky that calls me and invites me to fly. I wish I had wings, it may well be the only way to free myself of its enclosure”.