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Former sugar cane chopper, Marie Luciene da Silva Siqueira, known as Sil, from Capela-AL, became one of the most significant and talented folk artist of Brazil.

Sil was born on 14 August 1979 at Cajueiro-AL, but was raised in the rural area of Capela-AL. Daughter of sugar cane choppers, Sil worked as such until she was twenty years old. The plant that owned the land where Sil lived with her husband André went bankrupt and were obliged to look for another place. Looking for jobs, they moved to the urban area of Capela. At first, Sil tells that her husband and her faced a lot of financial difficulties. André had only informal jobs, while she would stay taking care of their house and children. The anxiety and desire to have a profession lead Sil to go to SEBRAE (a professionalization centre). There she took part in several courses: embroidery, crochet and tapestry. One day it came the opportunity to take part in a course with clay; it was the first time she met Mestre João das Alagoas. The first time she went to the master’s atelier it was already for real; I saw his work and everything very beautiful… he gave me the opportunity to start and learn…, tells Sil. From this encounter an artist of notable talent was born, one of the best folk art artists lately.

With João das Alagoas, Sil already has more than ten years of work and friendship relationship. The master has an atelier in Capela where he works from Sunday to Sunday with his apprentices and co-workers. Besides Sil, work with him in the atelier his wife and children; they are ten in total. The master says that he did not teach anyone, he only gave them the opportunity to express their art.

Sil says that it was when she entered João das Alagoas’s atelier was the first time she saw a clay doll in her life. Every figure she had seen before they were all plaster, she said remembering the small Padre Cícero’s sculpture she had on her house. When asked about her first clay sculpture, the first one she signed, she replies it was a little horse. At first they were horses, ox, and small dolls. The name Sil comes from her childhood, as this is how her parents called her: my parents could not call the boys’ entire name, so everyone had a nickname… so I started signing as Sil, I though about Luciene, but Sil is the name I carry for longer,she says.

Over the years, Sil has imprinted her own style on her work. Her life experience and the customs of her people are transmitted to the pieces with an impressive realism and care. All the expressions are strong: man and woman of the people, wedding celebrations, lovers riding a horse, kids games and the daily life in the countryside portrait with suavity and impressive details. The jackfruit, tree very present in the region, became a omnipresent element of her work and her trademark.

From her marriage with André, Sil had three daughters. Andressa, who is ten years old, already follows the mom’s steps, and with a lot of talent. Sil says that for now she prefers that the daughter focuses on the studies, the clay if only for the free time, she says. But apparently the art from Capela and the knowledge of Mestre João das Alagoas will be kept alive for long.

Sil’s work were already part of several exhibitions in Brazil and can be found in galleries in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Maceió, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.