Les Portes de Mazamet: Montagne Noire, 2017

“Les Portes de Mazamet” is a series of watercolour studies of Mazametan doors.

Hand made with care and precision, most of these doors date to the beginning of the 20th century, when the pelt and textile mills provided a steady trickle of wealth into this town and the surrounding areas, making it possible for the local architecture to thrive in their shadow.  Some doors are heavy, bordering on ostentatious, others more understating and elegant.  Even a century on, it is clear each door is a portrait of the person who once commissioned it.  This is the legacy of dozens of local craftsmen, whose aim was to create each one, from the most modest to straight out flamboyant, a unique statement.

With the industries long gone, and the town of Mazamet still waiting for its second renaissance, so many homes once filled with life are now derelict, falling on disrepair.  Rejuvenation of the town is well on its way, but as it is the case with modernisation everywhere, by wishing to start anew, we risk losing all traces of those who were here before us.  By choosing to paint a series of front doors of Mazamet, hidden on plain view, Lilja wishes to encourage interaction and appreciation of the old and the overlooked.


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