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Faces of Northeastern Brazil

Though poor and arid, Brazil’s Northeast has inspired much of the culture that people around the world identify with Brazil.

In the heart of this region, the state of Ceará exemplifies this outpouring of cultural energy, fueled by an amalgam of indigenous, Iberian and African peoples that give the Northeast—and the country—many distinctive cultural traditions.

In particular, Ceará is known for its folk art and handicrafts. From the state’s world-class beaches to the desolate sertão, to jewel-like mountain refuges, humble people turn wood, clay and natural fibers into decorative objects that are often functional as well.

In celebration of Ceará’s folk art tradition, the IDB Cultural Center recently organized the exhibit Faces of Northeastern Brazil. The works, primitive but powerful, ranged from an entire soccer team made of individual wood sculptures to a flat-bottomed sailboat of a kind still used by small-scale fishermen.

The exhibit, along with other events, was presented in conjunction with the IDB annual meeting, which took place in Ceará’s capital of Fortaleza in March. It was produced with the support of the Ceará Visual Arts Center (CEART), a state organization that organizes craftspeople and provides them with financial assistance, promotion and marketing.

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