If anyone can call themselves an expert in crabs in Sergipe, it’s Wilton Ribeiro da Silva. Clay crabs, from miniature ones to huge 3 metre long pieces. Wilton was born in 1954, in Aracaju, son of a journalist and writer. “My father used to say I would never be able to make art here in Sergipe, because people here don’t value it. But at 29 I decided that it was what I wanted to do, and went ahead with it. I’d had many jobs before, from waiter to hotel manager. But I was born with a certain inspiration. I had within me the desire to work with clay. I know artists work very hard but our country is only 500 years old and we have plenty of time ahead, so I hope things will get better. I was never one for an academic career.” Wilton says crabs were a challenge. “I started making them because they are a local legend and crab is a typical regional dish as well. Sculpting crabs isn’t easy. The features are complex, full of nooks.” But Wilton sculpts almost anything. “I have to accept commissions. Nowadays very few people recognize craft art. They want cheap products. If I get a large order I use moulds, that way it takes less time, I get the job done and earn my living.” He has no illusions: “That’s how artists survive, there’s no way around it. By doing that we are able to make special pieces as well.” Good examples are his images of saints and the giant sculpture of a crab, 3 metres long, which is going to be exhibited in Bahia.