Cícero Alves dos Santos has the habit of collecting whatever he sees around him, and earned the nickname Véio (old man). “I was born in 1947, in Nossa Senhora da Glória, and have always been interested in things from the past and the stories about the countryside. Country people couldn’t read or write. The best jobs were as a smith or carpenter. Bricklayers didn’t earn much, because most of the walls were made of clay. I used to observe all that, observe the farmhouses, and keep whatever people would give me. I built a museum to tell the stories of the countryside. The story of the countryman. The story of rich country folk doesn’t interest me, so I donated 4 thousand pieces that are related to them to the University.”
His museum is also his workshop. In the first room Véio exhibits a not so distant past, which would have been lost were it not for his persistence. They are pieces about the way of life in the countryside. “I work by myself. In the countryside you can’t make a living from art. We make art, but also work the land and breed animals. The primitive basis for everything is agriculture. In our spare time we have art for personal satisfaction.” Véio finds the source for his art in branches and tree trunks. “I started early. At 5 years old I used to make things with beeswax, but with the arrival of progress the bees left. Then I tried clay but I didn’t like it because it needed to be fired and then it ceases to be clay. So I tried wood. There’s plenty around. We can get it from property developments, and whenever people cut down trees. It’s imburana, a regional wood. I make whatever I like, I don’t take orders. I create, and if someone likes it, fine. They are my creations.” Véio makes miniatures and huge sculptures with ex-voto heads. There are domestic scenes, parties, legend, work scenes, religion, regional flora and fauna. His miniatures are charming, full of details, and he doesn’t wear glasses and doesn’t use a magnifying glass to work. At the entrance of his house – his Museum of the Sertão – gigantic sculptures welcome visitors. “But people here are ignorant. They tried to destroy everything, saying it was stuff from the devil or voodoo so I keep many pieces inside. I never learned with anyone. I work with shapes as they are. They are my creations which come from wherever my imagination takes me.”

Sculptures by Véio at the entrance to his house   MINIATURE SCENES
Painted wood, around 2 cm tall
Painted wood, 60 cm tall
(Hairy, two faced and short-legged –
according to a local saying)
Painted wood, 70 cm tall.
Private collection
Painted wood, 80 cm tall
Nossa Senhora da Glória
Santana do São Francisco
Areia Branca
Center West
Index and Addresses
Book's cover
Published by
Proposta Editorial

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