||For those who know the art of Juazeiro do Norte, there is one name who is unanimously admired: Nino. Like so many other Brazilian artists Nino was illiterate but today his work can be found in galleries and private collections in Brazil and abroad. He was born in 1920 and died in 2002 – born and deceased in Juazeiro do Norte.
One day he invited a neighbour, a young man called José Eloni da SIlva, to help with the cutting and sanding of his pieces. Eloni wasn’t sure what it was all about. “Nino told me: learn, because it’s good for you.” So I took the job, learned and worked. I’ve been doing it for 9 years. After Nino died, I stayed put, making the things I enjoy making. The pieces of wood decide what they are going to become. The more twisted the branch is, the better and I sign all my work as Eloni. Old Nino enjoyed making folkloric figures and so do I, but now I’m making benches. Before, I didn’t even know how to hold an axe. Nino was a very good teacher. If it had not been for him, I would still be working on the land. I think about the stories he used to tell. He began by making cars and monkeys to sell at the market in Crato (CE), or in exchange for food. I want to carry on, search for my path and become recognized for my work.”