||Edgar Andrade de Freitas makes “paintings” using coloured sand, but instead of a canvas he uses glass bottles. With absolute precision he inserts layers of sand in the bottle, creating light and shade, hues and tones that one can’t quite believe are made with sand.
This craft is famous all along the North East coast, but in Ceará it became notorious thanks to Mrs. Joana Andrade Maia who used to work on the beaches of Majorlândia. Edgar was her first pupil. He was 14 years old when he started. “I used to observe her filling the bottles. I’d help her prepare the sand, which we got from the cliffs and ground with a pestle and mortar. There are around 20 natural colours, but we use industrial pigments to create the other colours we need. Black, for instance, if we use the magnesita sand the bottle would burst.”
According to Edgar, it’s a laborious job, since the ground rocks need to be much finer than the sand on the beach. He has travelled abroad to exhibit his work, but always returns to Majorlândia, where he was born in 1950. “I don’t really know the origins of this art. I call it the art of coloured sands. I never studied to learn it. At first I copied pictures, paintings and whatever else people asked for.”
In a shop at the Craft Art Centre in Fortaleza there is a precious collection of bottles “painted” with sand by Edgar. His Saint George is impressive as are the portrait of Christ, peacocks, horses and hunting scenes.