Cecilia Paredes Peruvian, b. 1950


"I wrap, cover or paint my body with the same pattern as the backdrop and represent myself as a part of that landscape. With this act, I am building my own identity through the entourage or the part of the world where I live, or where I feel I can call home. My bio has described me as nomadic so maybe this is also a need of addressing the process of constant relocation. Another preoccupation I have in mind is the fact that flora as we know it, is coming to be endangered. I think that in my work, aesthetics bind with anthropology in order to register fragments of my personal and social memory."

Cecilia Paredes

Multidisciplinary artist in essence, Cecilia Paredes uses her body as a performative vessel merging painting, sculpture and photography. While she initially appears as the main subject in each of her “photo performance”, her work explores a wide range of themes such as exile, integration, connection to nature, as well as biocentrism. Playing an active role in the narration, the background of her compositions is often made of patterns borrowed from tapestry or wallpapers filling the entire frame including her body. Her identity, hence camouflaged in the backdrop, is distilled to a quintessentially feminine shape inviting the viewer to ponder the ways in which individuals are informed by their natural and cultural environments. Additionally, the omnipresence of vegetal or animal design depicts an ideal world where humanity blends in rather than dominates. 

Born and raised in Peru, Paredes’ political activism as a student in Lima in the 1970s forced her to leave the country. She has lived in Mexico and Costa Rica, and is now sharing her time between Philadelphia and Lima. Her nomadic lifestyle pieces together the motive for her need of addressing the process of constant relocation and displacement. Indeed, Paredes defines her life outside of Peru as a form of exile, a shearing away from family, culture and nature.

For the past 30 years, Cecilia Paredes has exhibited in the most renowned museums, from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, to the Lowe Museum in Miami, USA, via the Royal Museum of Arts in Brussels, Belgium. Her “photo performances'' are now part of countless private, corporate and museum collections internationally. Additionally, as a conservationist she participates in seminars such as “Art changing attitudes towards the environment” which was organized by the United Nations in 2008.