If anyone asks João Borges whether his work represents Maranhão he says it doesn’t, it represents Piauí. The town where he lives, Timon, officially belongs to Maranhão, but you only have to cross a bridge to get to Teresina and arrive in Piauí. Everything there seems to imply that you are only in Maranhão merely by chance. Even the local phone dialling code is actually that of Piauí.
João Borges uses clay to sculpt delicate figures of men, women and children he sees everyday on the street, on the farms and in the town. Their expressions are amazingly realistic. The clothes seem to be made of fabric, but they are pure clay. “I learned a bit with Nonato Oliveira, in Teresina. Here in Timon there are a few clay factories and the owner of one said I could use all the clay I want, and the kiln as well. That really got me started, and my scenes never stop. I really enjoy making them. They are the life I see walking by.”