||Unaware of his own talent, João Santeiro (saint maker) explains his trade in a simple way: “I started because my father was a saint maker. I started helping him when I was 10 years old and today I have two sons who do the same thing, they are also saint makers.”
João de Deus Alves was born in Parnaíba, Piauí. He was 12 when he arrived in Maranhão. There, he got married and had 13 children.
“I brought up my children with my saints and restoration work. I tried other jobs but they didn’t work out. I always come back to the saints. It’s what I know. My house is poor; you can see how I live, but there are many galleries and foreigners that order my saints. They always want to pay as little as possible but it’s what I know how to make. I started making angels to sell more, so did my sons. It’s our destiny – saints and angels.”