Featured Artist awarded to Katja Tonja – Cyprus in Style


Katja Tonja awarded Featured Artist by Cyprus in Style

Katja Tonja is originally from Croatia but came to live in Cyprus over ten years ago. Like many, she came to Cyprus and wanted to stay. Travel is nothing new to Katja as she has travelled and lived extensively all over the world. After graduating from Zagreb University in modern languages, she moved to London where she met her husband Siggi, and stayed for over two decades. She then lived in Singapore and Bahrain and spent nearly 14 years in Dubai before settling here in Cyprus.

“…my undying love of art.”

At an early age, she was encouraged by enthusiastic art teachers and subsequently showed great interest and promise in art. Katja recalls her first important art event, “I painted the boy who sat next to me at elementary school, and the painting won first prize at a competition. Not surprisingly, this was the beginning of my undying love of art.”. Over the years, she has pursued art and attended many courses: drawing, watercolour, oil and acrylic painting, interior decoration, and even framing. In Cyprus, however, her most significant influence has been the artist/teacher Nic Costa of Tekni Art School, who teaches in Paphos Old Town but is based in the beautiful village of Lemona. Katja recalls, “I have learnt so much from him. I have learnt to look at objects in an entirely different way. He is passionate about art; he never lets you get away with a poor result. Through his classes he is there to make you master the skill. He wants everything to be learnt the correct way”.

We can learn from everyone.”

Katja firmly believes that art is a learning process. “With every exhibition, every show, every art book and artist I meet, I learn. We can learn from everyone”. In Bahrain and Dubai, she was invited to judge at various painting competitions. During her time in Dubai, whilst working for a bank, she attended art tutorials at the Ductac art centre. She also participated and supported a hugely successful exhibition in aid of Syrian children. 

Emotionally engaged.

As part of the exhibition “Bozar del’ Abattoir”, curated by Fred Michiels, she was invited to exhibit 3 works in two exhibitions in Belgium in 2015. In 2017 and 2018 Katja’s paintings were exhibited in London at the Salon des Refusés which can be traced back to 1863 in France. The current Salon des Refusés has become more prominent every year and admired for the quality of the artworks exhibited. In 2018, she also showed her work at the Hellenic Centre in London together with seven other artists from Cyprus, in an exhibition entitled, “Myths and Realities”. Her paintings are included in private collections in Cyprus, Belgium, Dubai, UK, Bahrain, Norway, Switzerland, and Croatia. Her genre is varied but she particularly enjoys painting portraits. Katja says that she likes the subject of people; she finds portraits “emotionally engaging”. She also relishes the challenge of abstracts and landscapes. To beat the terror of the blank canvas, she will often paint flowers or still life because as one painting is finished, the agony of finding inspiration for the next looms”.

She finds living in Cyprus thoroughly inspirational. She loves the insanely bright colours of Fauve, Expressionist and Impressionist movements in art. In her paintings, Katja uses lots of sunny, warm colours to reflect the colourful nature and abundant light of this beautiful Island. She works from a studio at Artemis Studios in Choloraka which she shares with other artists.

To view her website, click here.

Published by Cyprus in Style Media – July 2020#InStyleBusinessNetwork