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Catalogue exhibition Antonio Dede | sculptures | 12/09/2013

Antonio de Dedé
First I got to know the work, and then the artist, only recently.
It was with Maria Amélia and Dalton that I saw Dedé’s works for the first time. I followed his work for years, as I usually do, and I was able to confirm the incredible talent of this humble man who transforms trunks into highly spirituous beings, full of fantasy. Living in the dry backlands of Alagoas, in the location known as Lagoa das Canoas, he creates Sereias, which is one of his favourite characters, as well as St Francises, St Georges, Bird Men and another host of figures from his rich imagination.
In 2012, with his participation in the project known as Stubbornness of Imagination (Teimosia da Imaginação), comprising a book, a documentary and also an exhibition at the Tomie Ohtake Institute, Antonio de Dedé has become known in the South of the country. By an interesting coincidence, that very same year his work was selected to take part in the exhibition known as Histoire de voire at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France, being part of the catalogue of this exhibition. Apart from his participation, his works were acquired and are now part of the collection of that prestigious institution.
Almost unbelievable, don’t you think? This is recognition of talent: Antonio de Dedé in the right place and at the right time.
At the beginning of July 2013 I finally went to visit him. We went over there with Germana Monte-Mór, with her camera ready to record the events that unfolded during our visit, and also Roberta Saraiva Coutinho, invited to be the curator of this exhibition.
I was captivated by Dedé’s humbleness. Living in absolute poverty, surrounded by his five children and also his grandchildren, he shows an unshakable happiness in living. A natural chatterbox, always with a smile on his lips, he gets really emotional when he talks about his wife who passed away, leaving him to bring up their children single-handedly. However, he carried out this task with flying colours. The family is extremely close-knit. One of his sons came to work in Ribeirão Preto, a city in upstate São Paulo, but could not bear to be far from his family. He returned after only a few months. He said that the rents were very expensive and that he didn’t see any reason to be far from his family. This is how they live, all close together and working.
I invited Dedé to come over for the opening of the exhibition at the art gallery. I also invited one of his sons to come with him, but this was not possible. He came up with a salvo of excuses, mainly alleging that the boys kept him busy and that they could not be left alone. In this case, the “boys” were almost thirty years old... It really comes down to a fear of flying.
After all, this is the work of Dedé. Full of colour, with a sprinkling of humour and fantasy, just like our artist really is.
I hope you like him as much as I do.

Vilma Eid

Galeria Estação