He is the eldest of six brothers, is known as Caçula (Youngest Brother) and his full name is Raimundo Pires Almeida. He was born in the Caapiranga (AM) district, six hours by boat from Manacapuru, where he now lives. He arrived with his family aged 7 to start his education, and says he got lucky at 17, while still at school.
Caçula constantly reminds himself that around that time he learned things that would change his life. It all happened when professor Chico Lima started teaching Industrial Arts in that small, faraway town. “He introduced me to the tools, taught me to carve wood, and I started to learn and work. Then I passed on all I learned to my brothers. If that hadn’t happened I wonder what we would do here.”
According to him, the lessons from professor Chico Lima are still remembered today and several of his gouges and chisels were gifts from the master. He and his five brothers live exclusively on the art of woodcarving. Evandro lives in Rondônia. Agnaldo and Vanderlei in Manaus (AM) and Almir and Arnaldinho in Manacapuru, where they work with Caçula in a big warehouse. In the backyard there is a creek that brings plenty of fish when the rainy season starts. All around there are palm trees and other vegetation so plants and animals are a recurring theme in most of the brothers’ work. But when asked what are the things he enjoys making the most, Caçula is resolute.
“What I really like is to work with the Amazonian legends. My favourite is the legend of Curupira who guards the forest. I also like to grow orchids and study them, observing their movement so that I can make the carvings as lifelike as possible.”