||At 80, former farmer Washington Rodrigues de Souza is close to reaching his dream: to have the largest “individual” museum in the world. His small sculptures pile up on the shelves and he refuses to sell anything. Soon he’ll have 1,600 pieces. “I already have 1,200 and I know the largest individual museum in the world has 1,500 pieces.”
He began making animals out of beeswax as gifts for friends. Then he started using wood. When he retired he had more time to dedicate to this work. “I get a piece of wood and think about what to make. I have never copied, never measured, never drawn and never made a mistake.” He shows off each work patiently and proudly, describing in detail how they came about and how they were made. “TV people came here once and said I make modern sculptures. But I didn’t like that because modern art is something people look at and don’t understand. I know what my sculptures are. I’m a miniaturist sculptor.”He speaks with enthusiasm of having seen all of his 10 children graduating at University, and of grandchildren who live in the United States. His work has been exhibited there and in France.