She got the nickname Safia when she was a child. “There were always people complaining to my father. “S’a fia (your daughter) did this, s’a fia did that. Everyone complained about me to my father.” Celestina Teixeira Siqueira laughs when she tells the story, revealing the energy of a naughty child she still has at 78 years of age.
“When I was a child, I used to make things and sell them to other kids. Maybe that’s what the parents were complaining about. I would eat a watermelon, take the shell and use a knife to make little people and animals to play with. I would take biscuit dough and make dolls.”
“One day I was riding a horse with my father and saw a branch of a tree. I asked him to cut it for me. I said: ‘That’s going to be my cockerel. When I was 10 years old I saw someone melting tin. I copied them and made a dog. My mother would make clay pots and I made little people, girls dancing. People started to look for me to see my things so I carried on. There’s a man in Brasília who collects everything I make.”
The majority of her work is made in clay and fired at a low temperature. Some she paints, others she leaves bare but she also sculpts and moulds pieces in several other materials. Her talent is expressed in a simple majestic way, in expressive lines like the ones on her own face and in her memories of a happy childhood despite the hardships.