RossoCinabro | Biography | Anja Stella Ólafsdóttir
Contemporary Art in Rome

Anja Stella Ólafsdóttir

Anja Stella Ólafsdóttir’s fairy tales are results of her combined background as academic Art Historian and painter. As an artist, Anja Stella walks down her own path. The fairy tales are narratives filled with expressions of her own challenges and enrichments of being a woman, equipped with her unique ideas and visions. The personal challenges and crises she meets in life seem to add extra fuel to her artistic progress, and in the last few years her fairy tales have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. Anja Stella Ólafsdóttir’s artworks are filled with autobiographic indexes and references to her Icelandic heritage through the use of lava stones as material from the homeland. Anja Stella has previously stated that her work emerges from her own personal experiences. This element can be detected and analyzed in the context that she repeatedly uses her own three daughters as motives for her paintings, representing three different elements in Anja Stella’s own psyche. In Anja Stella’s work the worldview we are familiar with is intertwined with a deeper sensory perception and interaction with nature, where fairies and nature is exposed as a vigorous universe – far from our reality.
Anja Stella’s fairy tales are saturated with polysemic symbols as the owl, the hummingbird, the peacock, the swan, the wolf and the serpent, framed in abundant plant life. At first glance one may well perceive the fairy sceneries as idyllic oases bearing some elements of quirkiness. But when the perceiver sinks deeper into the narratives he gets bitten by a great inner tension, dramatic objecting and a feeling of danger, where the question of survival seems to be a silver lining that threads through her work.
Text: Art Historian Mia Kim Lehman Hansen


Artistic Statement

"I tell fairytales with oil paintings. I work with a figurative imagery based on geometric forms. The fairytales are true to tradition formulated through a symbolic language, mirroring my own development as a human being in an honest and self-reflective way.
The intention of my work is to create a brighter and better space to rest in a somewhat dark and chaotic world. It’s an attempt of building bridges between the primitive and the civilized, between nature and industrialization, between fairytales and rational thought.
My intention is also reflected in the formalist narrative of the paintings, because I place the canvases in a grid formation as a puzzle. This representation symbolizes a window or a screen between inside and outside – dream and reality.
I focus on being human as part of nature – and nature as part of being human. The paintings are imprints of my own experiences as a sensual human being and a woman in a world filled with contradictions".
Born 1976, Icelandic/Danish painter


2014, April. Master of Arts in Art History, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2011, June. Bachelor of Arts Art History & Aestetic Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2006, December. Graduated in Fine Arts, Reykjavik Iceland.

Member of:

- Womans Art World

- The creative entrepreneur network OFF2017 Frontrunners for Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture

- Danish Art Historian Association


11. December 2015. Premio Internazionale, Artist at the Castle, Nerola, Rome, Italy.

10. December 2015. International Prize Michelangelo - Artists at the Jubilee, Vatican, Rome, Italy.

1. August 2014. My artwork: ”Wishes 2011” was awarded a prize in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. by curator, professor in fine arts at Nebraska University, Larry Bradshaw.


Fall 2016. Publication in “Italian International Catalog of Contemporary Art: Tribute to Rembrandt”. (2 pages) November/December 2015. Publication in Italian art magazine “Effetto Arte” in relation to the December award ceremony in Rome. (1 page)

October/November 2015. Publication in Italian art magazine “Effetto Arte” in relation to the event: Artist for Unicef. My artwork “Full Moon 2015 200 cm x 150 cm” is discussed and referred to in the magazine. (1 page)

23. June 2015. Publication in N.Y. censured art book: “International Contemporary Artists volume X” by ICA Publishing, N.Y. U.S.A. (2 pages)


2. September 2016. European Art Museum: permanent collection. Frederiksværk, Danmark.

2. August – 1. October 2016. Gallery RossoCinabro. Rome, Italy.

3. June – 24. June 2016. Kurgan Regional Art Museum. ”Calculation”. Siberia, Russia.

9. June – 12. June 2016. ”Triennale dell ́ARTE contemporanea”. Verona, Italy.

2. April – 30 April 2016. Godsbanen, Center for cultural production Aarhus, Denmark.

28. November - 10. December 2015. ”Little Treasures 2015”, Galleria De Marchi, Bologna, Italy.

14. - 15. November 2015. EuropArtfair, Nationaal Kunstplatform B.V. "Contemporary Art from contemporary Europe". Rotterdam, Holland.

8. November 2015. “Artist for Unicef” Palermo, Italy.

20. July – 7. September 2015. ArtMindGallery, Aarhus, Denmark. 6. - 12. February 2015. ”Art for children with cancer”, Odense City Hall, Denmark.

8. -18. January 2015. Solo exhibition: “Nature Fairy tales” Galleri 8240, Aarhus, Denmark.

1. August - 1. September 2014. “11th Annual Color: Bold/Subtle Juried International Art Exhibition”, Upstream People Gallery, Omaha, U.S.A.

19. August – 2. September 2006. Duo exhibition: ”Paintings & Ceramics” Reykjavik

December 2006. Graduation exhibition, Galleri Tugt, Reykjavik, Island.


2015 collaboration project: Mó Icelandic organic children clothing brand.

I made a branding and situation analysis and created new prints for their spring/summer & fall/winter collection.


Prendre la fuite

icelandic lavastones, acrylic base and oil on canvas

90 x 90 cm



Available works




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