María Peña started her career as a fine artist studying painting and ceramics in the Art School Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá ASAB, in Colombia, where she graduated in 2003.   In October, 2000 Maria was selected amongst  30 artists to represent Colombia in the 8th International Arts Festival of  Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual in México. The following  four years Maria participated in collective exhibitions in  Bogotá and Medellín/Colombia, with the series of paintings “Ergonomic Species”.


In 2004 she travelled to Australia in order to pursue a research program in visual arts  at RMIT University in Melbourne.  During this time she explored around the theme of Diaspora and the hybrid identities through her artwork “Bodies in Transit”,  a series of sculptural pieces of human presences  elaborated with fabric and embroidering and a series of paintings  entitled “Disappeared House”.  Currently Maria  depicts the theme of memory and identity in her oil paintings on canvas, in sculptural fabric pieces and installation projects.  Her artwork has developed between Australia and Colombia through solo and collective shows, artist in residency programs and  specific projects. Up to now she has participated in solo and collective shows in Colombia, Australia, Mexico, China, Italy, India and the United Arab Emirates.


Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia

E mail:   maria.penabriceno©  






Peña´s recent works attempt to overlap images of past and  present , offering traces  to remember and imagine a new re-constructed home and identity, as well as evoking places and people. By opening a different reality on the people’s heads appearing in the paintings or sculptural pieces Maria intends to capture the memory, bringing a past and future vision  that the viewer is invited  to  decipher.  The undefined and unfolded faces possibly will involve and make the viewer participate of his/her own experience, expecting that these presences awake their memories and origins to their nature and to their own absurd and mythical beings. 

Walls, chairs and stones are constantly appearing in her work.  These elements  depict  a poetic space  where an absent presence may be announce. Peña states that her art evokes remembrances and oblivions of home, spaces for the memory, connections with the roots, a blurred identity in re-construction. 

María Peña´s art has a strong influence from sub-realism concepts and referents from visual and cultural theory.  The theme of memory and identity, absent-presence, sense of longing and myth persistent in her art.




  • 2007. Graduate Diploma in Education.  Australian Catholic University. Teaching Methods:  Visual Arts and LOTE (Spanish).  Melbourne.

  • 2007. Doctorate of Fine Arts.  RMIT University.   Major in Art installation and Video Art. Melbourne

  • 2003. Bachelor of Fine Arts.  Major in Painting and two dimensional Art.  Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá, Colombia.




  • 2015. "Coir and Butterfly".  Mural Painting Project. Collateral  to the 2nd Art Biennale of India. fort Kochi. India.

  • November 2014. “Vitrina de Arte”. Sponsored by Galería Alzate Avendaño. Bogotá, Colombia.

  • October-November 2014.  "Re-construction". Mural Painting Project.  Casa Kilele, Creative Space.  Bogotá/Colombia.

  • October 2014. “Spaces for the Memory”. Museum Casa La Presentación. Cartagena. Colombia. 6th Female Arts Festival of Cartagena.

  • October 2014. “El Hilo que nos Une” (The Thread that Unites Us). Mural Painting Project. La Boquilla, Cartagena. Colombia.

  • June 2014.  “The Fabric of time”.  Springr Community Artists Space. Kochi. India. (Artist in Residency Program)

  • March 2014.  “Façade“.  A Memory Sculpture. Cube 37 Gallery. Frankston Arts Centre.  Victoria. Australia. Ventana Arte Festival

  • September 2013.  “Overlapping Spaces”.  Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery. Melbourne. Australia. Sponsored by Multicultural Arts Victoria.

  • April 2013. “Encountered Visions”. Abu Dhabi Art Hub. Abu Dhabi. Emirates United Arab. (Artist in Residency Program)

  • March 2013.  “Domesticated Tongue”.  Cube 37 Gallery. Frankston Arts Centre.  Victoria. Australia. Ventana Arte Festival.

  • November 2012. “Fachada”.  The Ownership Project Gallery. Fitzroy. Melbourne. Australia. (Artist in Residency Program)

  • September 2012. “Landscapes for the Memory“.  Brunswick Street Gallery.  September 2012.  Melbourne. Australia.

  • March 2012.  “Remembrances and Oblivions of Home“.  . The Curved Wall Gallery.  Frankston Arts Centre. Victoria.  Australia. Ventana Arte Festival.  ..

  • September 2011.  “Spaces for the Memory“.  City library Gallery.  . Melbourne. Australia.

  • June 2010.  “Northern Melbourne Exposure“.  Dear Gladys Shop.   Northcote. . Melbourne. Australia.

  • August  2009.  “Spaces  for the Memory”. Substation 12 Gallery. Newport. Melbourne.  Australia

  • February 2007.  “Bodies in Transit“.   RMIT School of Art  Gallery.  Melbourne. Australia.

  • January 2005.   “Disappearing House”. Depot Gallery,  2 Danks street,  Waterloo. New South Wales.

  • December 2005. “Disappearing House”. Design and Social Portfolio Gallery.  RMIT University. Melbourne. Australia. 

  • October 2001. “The Labours of the Body“. Universidad Distrital  Francisco José de Caldas.   Bogotá.  Colombia.  

  • December 2000. “Ergonomic Species“.  Academia superior de Artes de Bogotá/ Art School Academy. Bogotá  Colombia. .

  • Mexico. 1999.  “Counter of Memory“.  Plaza de Coayacán.    Mexico D.F.




  • 2014. “Mimesis”, Artists in Via Di Sanctis.  L´Associazone Art and Ground. Manziana/ Rome. Italy

  • 2013. "One+Two =12". Black dot Gallery. Melbourne Austraia.

  • 2013 "Unseen Habitation". Goodtime Studios Carlton, Australia. Sponsored by RISE (refugees, survivors and ex-detainees) and City of Melbourne.

  • 2012, "Utter Silence". 100th Gallery. Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2011, , "Pop up Migrants". The Tilt Gallery. Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2011, "Group 11th show". Brunswick Street Gallery. Melbourne-Australia.

  • 2011, "The Brunswick show", The Whitehorse Wheel.  Melbourne-Australia.             

  • 2010, "2010 Art Prize", Brunswick Street Gallery. Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2010, "Emerging Artist", Toyota Annual Show.   Melbourne- Australia

  • 2008, "Trans-local Motion/ International Students Exhibition". Shanghai Biennale.  Shanghai- China.

  • 2007, , "Confinis",  Counihan  Gallery.  Melbourne- Australia

  • 2007, "Mesh", Span Galleries. Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2006, "Borderlines:  Memory, space  and time". Flinders  Upstairs Gallery.  Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2005,  “New  Artists”.  Pollock Gallery.  Melbourne-Australia

  • 2005, "Auction Sale Exhibition",  First  site Gallery RMIT. Melbourne-Australia.

  • 2004, "Siemens Art Scholarship Exhibition", RMIT Gallery. Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2004, "Auction Sale Exhibition". First Site Gallery.  Melbourne-Australia

  • 2004, "Crossing Seas", Project Space, RMIT.  Melbourne- Australia.

  • 2004, "Annual Show". Steps Gallery, Contemporary Art Society of Victoria. Melbourne- Australia.              

  • 2002, "Fusionarte",  Galeria Casa Cuadrada. Bogotá- Colombia,    

  • 2000, "Fable Acts”, Ministry of Culture.  Museum of Modern Art, Medellin, and  Academia Superior de Artes de Bogotá. Colombia.

  • 1999, "Artistas del Cuerpo"   Artists in Residency, Ministry of Culture. Bogotá-Colombia.

  • 1999, "8th International Arts Festival ",  Museum Ex-teresa, Arte Actual.  Mexico.



  • Casa Kilele. Creative spaces. Bogotá-Colombia.

  • Restaurant Kushi, Kochi-India.

  • Abu Dhabi Art Hub,Abu Dhabi-UAE

  • Mural painting to Marcela Nuñez, Melbourne-Australia.

  • Wollongong University, Wollongong-Australia.




  • 2014,"The Fabric of Memory and shifting Identities", Press-The Hindu.

  • 2014, "Of Landscapes, Faces, and Fabrics", Press-Kochi Chronicle.

  • 2013, "Australian Art Month", press-The National. UAE.

  • 2009, "The Spaces for the Memory" Maria Esther Pena, Catalogue- Substation 12 Galleries, First edition. 

  • 2009, “Bodies in Transit”. Press- International student’s exhibition. Shanghai Biennale. 

  • 2007, "They come, they see, they create", Press-The Age, section “Sightlines” art and culture..

  • 2007, “Bodies in Transit”.  Maria Esther Peῆa Briceῆo. Pages  66/67, Catalogue-School of Art. RMIT University.

  • 2004, "Artists as researches", Magazine Postgraduate Reporter. Wollongong University. Number 1.

  • 2000, "Project Pentágono". Investigations of contemporary art in Colombia. Catalogue of the  Ministry of  Culture. Bogotá,  Colombia.  Section  “Fable Acts”. Art, body and thinking, Pages  92-93.

  • 1999, VIII International Performance Festival  "Utopίa/distopίa". First Edition. ISNB (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes). Museo  Ex_teresa  Arte Actual Mexico. Pages 46-47.




  • 2014, Endevour Award Vitrina de Arte.  Galeria Alzate Avendaño and District Institute of Art. Bogotá. Colombia.

  • 2014, Endeavour Language Teacher Award. Don Quijote School. Sponsored by the Department of Education of Australia.  Salamanca, Spain.

  • 2013, Artist  in Residency program, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Art Hub, Representing  Australia for the Australian Art Month.  Abu Dhabi, UAE.

  • 2013, Sponsored artists exhibition . Multicultural Arts Victoria. Australia.

  • 2011-2012.  Artist in Residency.  The Ownership Project. Community artists space.  Melbourne, Australia.

  • 2005, Scholarship by RMIT University. "Certificate IV in Training and Assessment" for teachers.

  • 2004, Acquisitive Award Annual,  two dimensional winner. Long Gallery,  Faculty of de Creative Arts. Wollongong University.  Wollongong, Australia

  • 2000,  Mural painting, commissioned by the Faculty of Education, Universidad Distrital. Bogotá - Colombia.

  • 1999, Selected amongst 30 artists to  represent Colombia in the 8th International Arts Festival “Utopia/Distopia”. Museum Ex-Teresa Arte Actual,  Mexico.

  • 1999, Artists in Residency. "Artists of the Body", Ministry of Culture. Project Casa de Artistas. Bogotá.