“At my own pace, I create my interior garden, part plant, part animal, to be displayed on the walls inside the home. They are in fact ornaments and are a blend of everything: rococo from the Pompadour flower manufacture, the vegetal arabesques of Grotesque art, Luca Della Robbia’s vivid lemons, scrolls of flowers and leaves that decorate the façades of the cities, chimeric scales and claws and even Sonic the hedgehog from the video game...
Children’s literature through ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak is also present with the incongruous appearance of nature indoors, and the phrase ‘And suddenly a forest grew in Max’s bedroom’ is reflected in the installation.
Again in popular culture, there is an English film called ‘The Emerald Forest’ by John Boorman - rather unsuccessful in the 80s - and the somewhat poetic title is the only thing you need to remember, mainly because it refers to the colour and depth of this precious stone that also has an interior garden, inclusions that give it all its beauty, that is what I wanted to portray in the enamels covering the sculptures.
In the disproportionately elongated shape of the pieces, I like to make a discreet allusion to the philosophy of Epicurus’ Garden. The Roman windows overlooking the gardens were apparently narrow to offer a deeper feeling of approval and finesse when looking out to the garden. I am quoting one of my favourite authors, Pascal Quignard, from ‘Sex and Terror’, from which a lot of my inspiration is drawn. He wrote “What is a garden in Rome? ... Stay perfectly still, like foliage before the storm”. The petrified clay in my ceramics is a tribute to him.
Finally, I always keep this passage full of hope by Wilhelm Müller and Franz Schubert close by, from ‘Winter Journey’: “Wann grünt ihr Blätter am Fenster?” (When will the leaves be seen again from my window?)”. Safia Hijos
Safia Hijos lives and works in Nîmes. After studying law and then several years in legal practice, she decided to devote herself to ceramics. She was awarded a Master’s degree in Ceramics from La Cambre, Brussels in 2014.
In 2019, her installation Émeraude supersonique, sonique et aux feuilles rouges earned her the Grand Prix at the Vallauris Biennale.
Today, this ceramicist works in her own studio, exhibits across Europe and further afield on a regular basis, and teaches from time to time in various institutions.