|The new task of Teresa Etelvina José da Luz is to continue the work of her husband, Joaquim Ferreira Neves – known as Quinca. In the small house in Brazlândia, a satellite city near Brasília, Mrs. Teresa carries on sculpting totems in buriti palm tree leaf stalks. “I used to help Quinca and ended up learning. When he died in 1995, I kept on working because we always needed the money. I think his work was prettier but everyone does their own thing. Judith, my daughter, also works and is really good at it, but she doesn’t like showing off.” Mrs. Teresa is teaching her granddaughter, Gisele. “It’s our destinity and it helps a lot. What Quinca really wanted was to go back to the countryside but he couldn’t. He lost his job and started making things with the stalks he came across. He made animals, figurines, and then started making totems of women. I helped him with the painting. Now, people are always in a hurry, always wanting things quickly, so we don’t put as many details in the women’s clothes. No one wants to pay much and we must pay for the buriti leaf stalk, which we get from a farm nearby and this is not cheap.”
Her work follows the lines established by Quinca. The simple lines of the ex-voto can be seen on the women’s faces. They are piled up, one on top of the other, with their hats and mixed features as if saying “who looks after things here is me”.