Adding up the area of all the states that make up the Northern region of Brazil, there are 3,869,637 km2, of which around 3,300,000 km2 belong to the Amazon forest, including the largest fluviomarine island in the world, Marajó Island, which is around 50,000 km2.
Its most recent addition, Tocantins state, unites the cerrado landscape with a tropical climate. On one side rivers interweave themselves into a lacy rug, in contrast with the Chapada and the Jalapão regions on the other. The rocks and sands are hot in colour.
Haste has no place here. Understanding this diversity might seem impossible. The river up stream runs slower than the river below teaching us that winter and summer impose their rhythm on what we do.
Agile hands seek deep and low into the earth grabbing handfuls of clay that come to life in pots, pans or “real art”, as the artists themselves call it. Other pieces are historical reproductions of an ancient tradition. It’s impossible not to mention Master Cardoso of Icoaraci (Belém, PA) or the potters of Maruanum (AP). The former, guardian of the traditional native Marajoara, Maracá and Tapajó ceramics techniques, is responsible for revealing this national treasure to the Brazilian people who had forgotten it. The latter are a portrait of stories that would have been lost in time if their tradition hadn’t been kept alive with their unique strength and tenderness. The small selection we present in this chapter of the Northern region is a brief testament to our “Brazilianism”, enriched by the genius of artists who even living under harsh circumstances turn their trade in a rite of freedom.
Detail of Caçula’s hands carving wood,
Benedito Souza’s hands decorating Marajoara style ceramics
at Ateliê Anísio workshop (detail),
Icoaraci – Belém, PA