Magrão (Alfredo Brondino), was born in São Paulo, but fell in love with the Amazon in a way he could not have imagined. He arrived in the area in a year when the river reached one of the highest levels ever registered. It was 1976. Carrying a backpack and making pieces of craft art to earn a living, he ended up staying and discovered painting, sculpting and also started a family.
Some of his best-known works are faces of native Brazilian indigenous people, which seem to come alive. To achieve this effect he studies and observes a lot. “I wish I could always be among them with their faces looking towards me, posing for me.” He sculpts the faces in clay mixed with epoxy using pieces of tree bark brought downstream by the River Negro as a base. Today, Magrão also makes furniture with the pieces of wood he comes across, and even musical instruments such as drums.
Magrão collects wood on his walks around the neighborhood, and also gathers seeds, branches; fibers to weave, dye, paint and mix all with other materials. When it comes to drawing faces of Brazilian indigenous people he doesn’t hide his preferences. “I like the Poturu and the Ianomami. They are handsome, noble and brave. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like the other ethnic groups, for they are all the true Brazilian people, aren’t they?”