Goiana - PE

The municipality is located on the northern coast of the State of Pernambuco and lies in the region of the Zona da Mata in Pernambuco. With an estimated population of 75,987 Goiana is strategically placed 60km from the capital Recife and 50km from João Pessoa, capital of the neighbouring State of Paraíba (IBGE, CNM, 2011). In Zona da Mata the main farming activity of the municipality is the predominant sugar plantations. This region was settled as early as the first half of the 16th century, when the Portuguese began their economic exploration of sugar plantations (Alcure, 2007). The Portuguese occupation of the area of the current municipality dates from these early days. Goiana is part of the Itamaracá captaincy and its settlement was concentrated in the Goiana River valley. Despite the resistance of the indigenous groups living in the region, the first sugar mills were established in the second half of the 16th century boosting the development of Goiana, which was given this name in 1568 when the district was created. In 1742 it was promoted to the category of a town and in 1840 to the city category (IBGE, 2011). Goiana is crossed by various rivers and has a large quantity of clay. One of the great local potters is José do Carmo Souza, born in 1933. He was known only as Zé do Carmo, and from 1940 on he would make figures, storks and hens from clay to sell in the market. When he was nine years old, the town mayor offered him an oven in early recognition of his talent. He lived with his parents at the back of a church, which brought him in close contact with the Catholic images. His art clearly shows the religiousness in his North-eastern angels “looking like people”, which marked his production in the 1970s, and daring incursions such as the two-metre high St. Peter. With his own personal style, Zé do Carmo created figures between 30cm and two metres in height, combining sophistication and robustness. He specialized in saints and figures such as the sea-horse, crab catcher, lace-maker, field captain and mamulengo puppets.  His work is found in the collection of the Casa do Pontal Museum in Rio de Janeiro and the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Museum in Pernambuco (Machado, 1977; Frota, 2005; Mascelani, 2006; Coimbra et al, 2010).

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