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Manuela Serje is a Colombian-born artist and ceramicist living in Australia. With talents spread across painting, illustration,

ceramics and sculpture, her artwork throughout the years is as much a celebration of the female form, as it is an exploration of self. A journey deeply Intertwined with her South-American roots, aiming to bring as much colour to her work and surroundings as possible. 

Her talent in the studio is rivalled only by her passion for women’s empowerment. We speak to Manu about her journey as an artist, what empowerment means to her and listen to her views on how women are depicted in art.

If you want to check out her work for yourself, you can find her on IG or on her website!

Tell us a little about yourself and your journey.

I had the privilege of being born in Colombia and having had the opportunities and experiences of uprooting and moving to Canada for 13 years and then Australia for now 8 years. It made me the child of two cultures, being at once part of both but also in limbo between the two. It’s taught me to come out of my shell and to adapt, to get to choose what parts of myself to bring with me and which to leave behind. 

Being part of a creative family, I practiced art, in its many forms, at home with my mom and at the various art schools I was able to attend.

 What does women’s empowerment mean to you?

It means being the woman you want to be with full conviction and pride. Whether that means being a stay-at-home mom in a traditional marriage, wearing a hijab, being a sex worker, being part of the LGBTQI, working as a Disney princess, or shaving your head for feminist pride; as long as you are going through life living it however it is that it brings you inner peace, truth and joy. 

What is your view on how women have been depicted in art, and is there anything you’d like to be different?

There is a very interesting episode on the series The Good Fight (4, ep 1), where the main character wakes up to the Trump presidency having been but a bad dream and to find that Hillary had won. Women empowerment seemed to have taken over and reign. But she slowly realizes that without Trump having been elected, none of the women’s marches, Me Too movements or feminist rages would have been catapulted to start, leaving her in a very complacent reality where feminism had already ‘won,’ where no one seemed to care that Weinstein sometimes got a little ‘handsy.’

Although it is a shame how women have been depicted as objects and property through the ages, how female artists have been scorned and pushed out of the cannon, how proof of matriarchal societies, wise women and shrines to the Great Goddess were kept from history books for centuries.. It is these very facts that capture the history and struggles of women through the ages and give us the strength to channel our fury into reclaiming our bodies, sexuality and stories in the art, music and politics of today. 

Do you believe female empowerment can come from art?

You only need to hear the lyrics of WAP and see it’s impact to realize how far we’ve come, in even just 50 years, in turning the ‘male gaze’ in on itself and hearing a song all about female empowerment and pleasure. 

All it takes is a shared experience, to be represented and feel a connection with a piece, to know that you are not alone and to feel a part of something bigger, to feel empowered to continue doing that for someone else and keep the ball rolling. Empowerment can most definitely come from art.

What else are you passionate about/who inspires you? 

The recent climate change catastrophes, the ongoing toll of capitalism and the sad indigenous and colonial pasts of my homeland, Canada and Australia keep bringing Indigenous rights and awareness into my heart. Most of all now with COVID, we’re seeing the destruction and complete neglect of the sole communities on earth who still have a connection and deep respect for the earth, who actually practice sustainability and balance as the very core of their beliefs. They’re also the last remaining societies who still recognize and respect the divine feminine, their own forms of the Great Goddess, as the or part of the energy and cycle of life.

You can find Manu on Instagram at

Or visit her website here: