Fenearte attracts more than 300 thousand visitors and generates around R$ 40 million per edition
From the darkened cinnamon-brown wood, allied to the synthetic enamel and the wire, Zé Alves de Olinda gives shape to his sculptures with strong African influence, such as slave ships, weather vanes, saci pererês (a character in Brazilian folklore), Indians and tribal warriors; all in black and red, part of his trademark. The inspiration came through the art of Nhô Caboclo, a Fulni-ô Indian from the township of Aguas Belas, interior of Pernambuco, with whom he began to work at the age of 17, when he was called to join the Nega Fulô Arts and Crafts gallery. "Nhô Caboclo was my master and everything I have today I owe it to him. If it hadn’t been for his inspiration, I wouldn’t have followed my gift as an artisan", he says proudly.
In one day, Zé Alves de Olinda says he makes about 100 wooden dolls. Although they seem similar, my work, he says, is by no means instinctive. "My job has creativity. You have to imagine and think a lot to be able to create", he says. As a participant of Fenearte since its first edition, he says that the fair is of extreme importance both for the dissemination of his work and his livelihood, since he earns a living from his art. "The fair shows the crafts of Pernambuco to the world, and it’s very important for my work which is then taken far away.
"Far away" for him means countries like Portugal, Mexico, France and Switzerland, where Zé has already exhibited his pieces. Internationally recognized these days, Zé Alves de Olinda continues his craft and perpetuates popular culture by training children and adolescents in communities and schools. "By passing down my knowledge to them, I am transmitting our culture, our history", he says. “I am so proud”. "I never imagined I would get to where I am now. I feel honored to have been born with the gift of crafts", he smiles.