Raimundo Assis Maia Filho was born in Arapiraca (AL), in 1948. Between comings and goings, in the late 1990s he divorced his first wife, married Mrs. Teresinha and moved to Maceió. There, he continued to work with wood and managed to get a stall at the Craft Art Pavilion in the prestigious harbour of Maceió and began to sign his work as Raimundo Maia.
“When I was 8 years old I made my first piece. I got hold of a wooden bowl and carved a face at the bottom. I saw the face in a magazine and copied it. I went on working as a salesman, but carried on making my things. I’ve been living off art for the last 25 years, but I have to make all sorts of things to sell.”
Raimundo has travelled a lot, going as far as Bolívia. “I came back with the certainty that I would never leave art. In Brazil we don’t have the necessary support, so at first it was hard. The craft artists would try to sell their work by the beach and the police would make us leave as we were criminals. I was still single when the Pajuçara Craft Fair started. We were a group of craft artists working together. With so many courses nowadays, things have changed. Anyone can be an artist. It’s a good thing because there are many unemployed people around here. But only a few can make a go of it.”
Out of need, Raimundo’s work is quite eclectic, but it’s his larger life-size pieces that really catch people’s attention. At the workshop he has at home (“built with money earned exclusively off art”) he is putting the finishing touches to sculptures of the legendary “cangaceiros” (bandits) Corisco and Dadá. It’s impossible not to notice the delicate lines of Dadá’s profile and the details of the clothes and ornaments they wear. It’s Raimundo Maia at his very best.
CORISCO AND DADÁ
Imburana wood, 1.80 m and 1.60 m tall.
Work in progress
Imburana wood, 1.20 m tall.