French artist Valérie Hadida creates expressive sculptures that represent the stories of women. The pieces are bronze portraits of teenage and middle-aged women sitting in a variety of positions and expressions on their faces with body language and hairstyles to match. Some appear pensive while others look at peace. The differences demonstrate that no two journeys are the same, but like their kneaded surfaces, the figures come through with marks to show—but hopefully are better for it.
The ladies in Hadida’s life are an important influence on her work. “Mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, soulmates, protectors,” Hadida tells My Modern Met, “women of all generations, who constantly inspire me.”
Although each of Hadida’s pieces is cast in bronze with a green patina, they all begin as clay sculptures; this explains the graceful curves and hand-smoothed feel that each figure has. “Starting a new piece in clay, I like to channel my energy on the big lines,” she explains, “find the shape and the outline of the silhouette, by contrasting volumes.” It is here her creative spirit is allowed to soar. “Clay is my element. Carving stone or wood is not my way: there’s too much anticipation in the conception. I love to let myself flow freely in the creative process. Free!”