Joya: AiR / Marie-France Bourbeau / Quebec, Canada


“The first night I passed at Joya: AiR was filled with strange noises coming from the wood burning stove next to the wall of my bedroom. It felt like rocks hitting metal panels. I learned the next morning there was a bird caught into the chimney trying to get out. In fact, two birds were trapped in the house: one in the kitchen and one near my bedroom. As I came here for residency having in mind sculpting birds, I felt it like a sign. The next day, Simon (director and co-founder of Joya: arte + ecología) opened the door of the stove and a window nearby. By chance, I happened to be standing in the other room, just as the bird took his opportunity and I saw it fly away through the open window.

I can say that by that moment, I found my point of reference both externally and internally. I understood why I had these images of birds trying to emerge from my subconscious: they were a metaphorical image of our human condition. Trapped in our lives, we may sometimes need somebody – or something – to open up our inside door.

As the days passed, I have been walking a lot throughout the land and the only other living creatures I have crossed  were.. birds. As they were the subject of the project I now had in mind, I felt a deep connexion with the environment.

Finding a lot of branches quite expressive and being inspired by them, I started to work on a series of sculptures mixing human torsos with bird heads in the objective to assemble them together. The wood here has gained a rich density of organic forms due to the harsh living conditions of growing in constant search for water. With the clay taken from the surroundings, I have sculpted figurines halfway between birds and humans. The clay, being full of little rocks and impurities, has given to my sculptures a primitive quality but more complex, expressing a link to this untamed territory.

Joya: AiR is a jewel in the middle of this wild nature, allowed me to plunge into the roots of the landscape – both physically and emotionally – and allowed me to recenter myself and focus on the fundamental elements: water, air, fire, clay, all these being at first necessary but often forgotten as essential to life. Being restricted by the remoteness of the place and having to work with new materials,  gave me the chance to experiment with new materials and new ways of sculpting and therefore stretch my wings”.


Marie-France Bourbeau 2017