Getúlio Damado’s history has always been linked to trams and trains. “I was born in Minas in 1955, in Espera Feliz, and in the countryside we used to hear people saying that the people from Minas are so naive that when they went to Rio they felt like buying everything, even the tram, and if someone offered it to them they’d buy it. One day I saw the Santa Teresa tram on the television, going through the arches, and that image never left my mind. After the 1978 World Cup, I moved to Rio.” Born into a family of Italian farm workers, Getúlio lost his father in 1971 and went to live with different relatives, doing a little bit of everything to earn some money. Like his own mother had done, his wife left him and he found himself alone with his children. “I had to be a father 24/7 and needed a job to support the family. I used to walk the streets with my kids, selling candy and offering my services as a mechanic, until I moved to Santa Teresa.” Getúlio set up a stall in the Leopoldo Fróes Street, in front of the only supermarket in the neighbourhood. He made many friends, and started defending the neighbourhood, working as a director of the community for 6 years, and always watched the tram ride by. “In the meantime, I started taking things I found on the street and putting together some stuff. I made a tram of wood, painted it yellow and decorated it with hearts. That’s what the real tram looked like when I arrived here. I started making dolls to try to earn some money. Just fixing pans and that sort of thing wasn’t enough to make a living. I used to make my things and leave them lying about. Some people got interested and bought them.” He has managed to raise his kids and has built a workshop that looks like a tram. All around him, his dolls and crazy characters enchant passers by. Getúlio has become an important figure in Santa Teresa. “I want to carry on living here. Today I’m more famous abroad than in Brazil. But I want to carry on defending art and Chico Mendes’ philosophy, because nature is the most important thing we have. I only work with things that have been discarded, transforming the garbage. All the pieces have a name.” Getúlio still fixes pans and whatever else people bring to him, but his creatures are truly special, and are a portrait of the life and times of this great artist.
Mixed materials, 20 cm tall.
Private collection
Mixed materials, 40 cm tall
Mixed materials, 50 cm tall.
Private collection
Mixed materials, 40 cm tall.
Private collection
Painted wood, around 20 cm tall.
Private collection
Rio de Janeiro
São Gonçalo
Nova Friburgo
Barra de São João
Visconde de Mauá
Center West
Index and Addresses
Book's cover
Published by
Proposta Editorial

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