Valdilena Serra Martins was born in Maranhão in 1950, and moved to Rio de Janeiro with her family when she was 8 years old. There she became Lena Martins, brought up by her mother and grandmother who used to make cloth dolls and dolls out of flour dough. In 1987 Lena used to make rag dolls and clothes to sell at craft fairs. “There was a lot of unemployment at the time. There were many people at the fair trying to sell all sorts of things, and so the place lost some of its beauty. I wanted to make something without a sewing machine. I started using corn straw, and organized several workshops for children. Then I started using fabric. Abayomi Cooperative started in 1987, when there was a lot of social struggle in Rio. The Black Rights movement was getting organized, and many people were searching for their African roots. In that context we came up with Abayomi, which started as a group of four people. Now it’s a flag that we fly to strengthen the self-esteem of the Afro Brazilian population. We work in underprivileged communities, and we want to make this flag even stronger. Today, Abayomi is my political challenge” The dolls are made without glue or stitches. They are put together by knotting fabric and threads, enchanting all with their beauty, simplicity and expressiveness.
Fabric scraps, lace and threads,
around 25 cm tall
Fabric scraps, lace and threads,
around 30 cm tall
Rio de Janeiro
São Gonçalo
Nova Friburgo
Barra de São João
Visconde de Mauá
Center West
Index and Addresses
Book's cover
Published by
Proposta Editorial

(55 11) 3814 3536