Antonio Poteiro

Antonio Poteiro

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Antônio Poteiro
(Antônio Batista de Souza)
1925, Santa Cristina da Posse, Braga, Portugal – 2010, Goiânia, Goiás, Brasil

He was still a baby when he arrived in Brazil. Lived in São Paulo and Minas Gerais States, and among the Carajá Indians on Bananal Island. Later he finally settled down in Goiânia, Goiás, in 1955. He worked as a water tank repairer, baker, cook and cleaner before beginning his clay art in Araguari, together with his father, ceramist Américo de Souza, who made pots and other domestic utensils. That was how he was given the nickname Poteiro (potter). His desire to give other forms to the clay sculpture came from his skill in making pots. Poteiro sculpted large saints in relief, animals associated with sacred, such as the Turtle’s Nativity Scene (Presépio da tartaruga), dreams for humanity, like the Embrace (O abraço). It is very seldom that the marriage between a worldly art and themes of the world’s creation find such an extraordinary interpreter as he was. “His work has the dramatic impact of the baroque”, writes critic Aline Figueiredo. “He also makes single images of different saints”, she informs, or “representations of the believing God, One God and Justice God. In fact, many of his themes are religious”. In 1973, encouraged by Siron Franco, he began painting directly onto the canvas without preliminary sketches, using dramatic strokes and primary colors with masterful equilibrium. His religious faith very often combined with political criticism: in one of his Last Suppers, for example, the table is adorned with dollar and pounds notes. “In painting”, he said in an interview in 1977 with Frederico Morais, “I use the same pottery themes: One God, a Just God, a bunch of saints, regional themes, cavalcades, folk dances, all with a touch of the fantastic from my mind”. His work, although considerable, maintains its high performance, and he is one of the most important artists in the country.He is internationally known: participated twice in the São Paulo Biennial (1981 and 1991), exhibited in more than 20 countries and was awarded many prizes in art salons, with widespread recognition from the critics. He initiated his son, Américo de Souza Neto, inte the art of the clay, later developing polychromatic ceramics, and sculptures with its own personality.

Little Dictionary of the Brazilian People’s Art – 20th Century, by anthropologist and poet Lélia Coelho Frota


Revista Raiz


Arte Popular do Brasil | web


Galeria Estação