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About This GigapanToggle
- Taken by
- clara phillips
- Explore score
- 0.37 Gigapixels
- Date added
- May 08, 2009
- Date taken
- May 07, 2009
GigapanMagazine.org vol 1 issue 3
The most famous craftsman in town was Vitalino Pereira dos Santos - Mestre Vitalino (1909-1963), born in the district of Ribeira dos Campos, near the city of Recife, on July 10 and married to Joana Maria da Conceição. Vitalino was known to be shy, kindly spoken, thin, rough tanned skin, shallow mustache, catholic and a devotee of Padre Cicero. Like many of the people in his town he was illiterate, because there were very few schools in the region.
His father was a farm worker and his mother was a ceramist who made utilitarian pottery. On an everyday basis, she made pots, jars, bowls, plates, piggy banks, etc.. Vitalino as a child played with the left over clay from his mother's work. He made horses, goats, cows and little action figures. At that time period, the children, especially the ones who lived on the countryside, had no access to toys produced industrially, very similar to what is mass produced today. So Vitalino created his own toys to entertain himself.
Vitalino took the opportunity to sell his toys when his father and brother went to the flea market to sell his mother's pieces. At seven years of age, he would sell the toys inexpensively to make a couple of pennies. As he got older he began to develop scenes depicting the wild man of the Northeast, rural environments of everyday life, of people and their customs. In 1947, now thirty eight years old, Vitalino still living on the countryside and continuing to mold action figures, he was encouraged by a painter and collector Augusto Rodrigues, who admired the craftsmanship of his work. He moved to Alto do Moura, a town near Recife, only 8 km away, with his wife and children. In Alto do Moura, Vitalino was near the famous fair of Caruaru, which had hundreds of booths and everything was commercialized. In his booth he sold the action figures, the animals made out of clay, he also sold the sculpted scenes of everyday life.
Mestre Vitalino passed his knowledge and techniques to his followers in Alto do Moura. Among these followers are, Zé Caboclo, Manuel Eudocio, Elias Francisco dos Santos, Zé Rodrigues, Manoel Galdino, Luiz Antonio da Silva, and now all known as his "disciples." Vitalino supported his followers and was not afraid of competition. He enjoyed the companionship of his friends and the idea of teaching them the different ways to fire the clay.
The friendly relationship between him and his disciples created an atmosphere where everyone helped each other by assimilating the techniques and themes. Some of them copyed each others themes and reproducing the work of another became a naturally accepted practice by all. An example of this practice was the sculpting of the figure "Bride on the Back of the Groom's Horse" created by Vitalino. Master Vitalino said, "The world is for everyone and everyone needs to live."
They say Vitalino's first hit, out of the hundreds he created, was the scence depicting a painted leopard trapped in a tree, by a dog and an armed hunter below.
Vitalinos followers became professionals and supported themselves with their craft. Their work was exposed in the Caruaru Flea market. However, given the difficulties of transport and the risk of breaking their work they began to sell from their own homes in Alto do Moura. Another advantage of this measure is they will no longer lose precious time coming and going. Now they could focus more of their time to produce their work.
In Alto do Moura, the artists created a very warm and welcoming environment for themselves, sharing material, time and kilns. If they went to the fair, they took each others pieces. And generally just helped each other out. These ideals and actions demonstrate the good relationships that existed between them.
Worthy of record is Alto do Moura is considered the largest center of Figurative Art of the Americas by UNESCO. Currently, hundreds of people practice and study MestreVitalino style.