||Fortunately for art and party lovers, Benito Campos (Benito Euclides de Moura Campos) was an unsuccessful company manager. Born in São Luís do Paraitinga, in 1952, he is a self confessed lover of the local folklore. An excellent storyteller, Benito can hold anyone’s attention for a whole day with his tales. “I had a lot of jobs before finally taking charge of my life and doing what I enjoy. I make dolls and masks. I’m passionate about regional culture and my mission is to rescue it. Here in São Luís do Paraitinga carnival was a dead art, but lately it has attracted more and more people. Carnival here is a street affair, very naive and very real. We also have religious events, legends, and we fight for Saci – a folkloric character in the shape of a one legged rascal who many children have forgotten about.” Benito gets excited talking about the dolls João Paulino and Maria Angu, which he makes for a local festival, and about the local dances. He believes these traditions must be reinterpreted and shown to the local people so they won’t be forgotten. Benito works full time at his workshop, making dolls, masks, headpieces and all sorts of accessories and decorations for the local festivals.
There’s nothing like meeting up with him to hear the many tales he has researched and written down. “What I really want is to be happy, appreciating local traditions and celebrating life with lots of parties.”