||Since he was a child João Carlos da Silva has made figurines in clay. They were small and represented what he saw around him. In the town of Capela where he was born the tradition of working with clay is ancient. Pots were made to be used at home, but young João had to earn his living. He went to work in commerce, but one day he found himself unemployed. To cut a long story short, the small figurines he moulded in clay as a child became large. João had always liked them. He would mould what he saw around him – the life in the Northeast of Brazil. He worked so hard, created so much and tried for so long to pass his knowledge on to others that he is now known as João das Alagoas.
“I fell in love with characters from the folkloric festivals, stories and songs. The warriors, the Oxen and the Sea Horse (folkloric characters). They are our soul. Since then, I haven’t stopped.”
His sculptures are full of detail and emotion. He takes weeks to complete one Ox. Each one is unique, with its own theme. “The only time I left Alagoas was to travel to Argentina, in 1986, to take part in a Latin American Craft Art exhibition. I learned how to value my work. There are more commercial pieces, like the saints and nativities but I learned one thing: I don’t want to make huge amounts and become a slave. I want to make a few quality pieces, and show them to those who can appreciate them.”