||When Severino Pereira dos Santos was born in 1940, Caruaru was primitive and isolated. There were no jobs, no commerce and no industry. Most inhabitants depended on the market, where farmers sold and bartered their crops and baskets arrived full of clay pots every day. All this in the middle of singers, bands and cordel (handmade booklets) sellers.
“We arrived in 1948, from a smallholding in Ribeira dos Campos. We set up house in Alto do Moura, which is a borough of Caruaru. I was born in a clay cot. We were 6 siblings. When I was 7 years old I started helping my father make clay things. Today I continue his work. I even make reproductions of his pieces.” In the house where his father’ – Master Vitalino – used to live is now the Master Vitalino House Museum. And Severino Vitalino – that’s his artistic name – is in charge. He works, welcomes visitors and tells stories about his father.
“My father created 118 different scenes. His first piece was an ox. He liked to paint it red. Then in 1948 he stopped painting his pieces. The scenes include the cat hunter, the flour house and the regional band. Those are my favourites.
Here in Alto do Moura, all my family, like my father’s, work with clay. He started it, became famous and now the entire town makes a living from it. But what my father really enjoyed was to play with a regional pipe band.”
Severino Vitalino is very proud of his work. “No child of mine ever had to work in the kitchen for someone else. I think our art takes the name of Caruaru far away and my father’s name is the most important of all. Caruaru is what it is today because of my father and other masters who came from here.”