"Art for me today is an instrument of transformation."
"Everything began in Araras, in the interior of Ceará, when I was just ten years old. Raised by my grandparents, who... were farmers, I didn't receive any incentive in the arts. But the my creativity was already stimulated because playing where we lived, with few resources, was a constant and continuous creative exercise. I helped on the plantation and with the harvest; I loved it. It was lovely to see the plants grow and pick the fruits that I had planted. I remember that my uncles had a small brickworks where I created pots and animals, among other things I could use in my games, everything made of clay. When I was 12, I learned all the crafts there were. I also loved to attend any cultural manifestation, like puppet shows, circuses and such.
"I don't have any formal formation; I am self-taught, living new experiences together with my friends. Besides this, I always tried to be linked with some artistic movement, because those experiences were so outstanding that they are present in the artist that I am today.
"I began making this type of jewelry in 2000, when I was working as a social worker at shelter with more than 2000 people. They were poor and some were sick, and among them was a woman named Isabel. She had some form of mental problem and spent the day rolling up pieces of paper or whatever else she had in her hand. She kept moving her hands. It was like a tic that she had.
"I wanted to develop a project that would teach them something that could help them earn some money to cover the day. As the government of Rio owned this shelter, there wasn't a budget, so they could not afford expensive tools and materials. When I saw what Isabel was doing, I decided to explore the possibility of creating a variety of items with rolled-up paper. They started by making bowls and curtains, and finally jewelry. I used to make jewelry when I was young and always liked it, so I knew how to go about it.
"This project lasted until 2003 when the shelter closed down, but I kept crafting different objects at my place, with many people from the shelter coming around to do their pieces too.
"I love this type of work for two main reasons. I think that it is fundamental to start recycling stuff, otherwise the world will become more and more polluted. I am happy to contribute by recycling. And the second reason is that this type of work is helping people earn a living. Before, these people usually stayed in the street asking for money, but now they know how to recycle paper and other techniques, so they can go in the street to sell instead of asking for money, and this is a big improvement.
"Today, art for me has a social nature. There is no doubt that it provides me with my sustenance and income, but this is not the main foundation of my art. I work together with communities in need, shelters for street people, non-profit projects and movements. With what I am doing, I believe art is an instrument of transition.
"We work basically with recyclable materials, preserving nature, mobilizing everyone to an exercise in environmental preservation. And, as in my past, I am picking the fruits of a seed planted 31 years ago — the seed of art."