Pirenópolis - GO
The town of Pirenopolis, known for its colonial architecture and traditional festivals, is situated in the mesoregion of eastern Goiás and today has 23,006 inhabitants (IBGE, 2010). It lies at the altitude of 770m and sits at the foot of the Pireneus mountain range, referring to the largest mountain range in the State of Goiás, in which the small town nestles. The village that gave origin to Pirenopolis was founded in 1727, when the Bandeirante explorers found a large quantity of gold in the region. With the decline in gold mining, the region became an agricultural and trading centre, considered as a major urban centre of the then Goiás province until the late 19th century. After this period Pirenopolis spent long decades in isolation. It was still known, however, for its traditional festivals, namely the “Festival of the Holy Ghost” (or Holy Spirit), held since 1819 and classified by IPHAN in 2010 as a Brazilian cultural heritage. A highlight of the Festival of the Holy Ghost in the urban scenario is the Cavalcade of Christians and Moors, which makes Pirenopolis known today as the “Cavalcade town” (Spinelli, 2009). This is the context of the Festival of the Holy Ghost and of the Cavalcades in which the works by Maria de Beni and Lunildes are included. Maria de Beni, born in 1919, developed her ceramics art by reproducing the festival of the Cavalcade: with miniature horsemen and animals richly decorated with the symbols of the Moors and Christians. In 1954 her work was selected by UNESCO to be shown at exhibitions in Europe (Mascelani, 2006). Lunildes, born in 1953 had Maria de Beni as a source of inspiration and produces also miniature masked horsemen in clay with clothes and masks copying those of the festivities.