||In 1860, in Florianópolis, the Andrade family built a grand house that to this day is very well looked after. The property has been divided among the many heirs, but the house where Cláudio Agenor de Andrade lives is now a listed building and that makes all the difference. Cláudio found many tree trunks and roots on his land and from them he created animals. “It was all subconscious. I always enjoyed making things. One day Janga, owner of the Casa Açoriana Gallery, saw and liked them. He encouraged me and I carried on. As wood became rare I started working with clay. I make saints because I live in a world full of religious festivals, pilgrimages, folkloric events. I used to get whole blocks of clay and sculpt them as if they were wood. I didn’t know how to mould clay. But that’s how you learn.”
One of the most touching stories he tells is about an image he made for the Chapel of Saint Anthony. “The priest approved it and so did the heritage council, but the local religious women didn’t. They didn’t allow the image to be delivered. As my Saint Anthony had been rejected, I decided the best thing would be to put it somewhere everyone could see it. So it’s at the Casa Açoriana Gallery, even though it really belongs to the church.” The beautiful image impresses the visitors who take turns having their picture taken beside it, as if asking for a miracle.