Chico TABIBUIA

 

Born 1936 in Silva Jardim – BRAZIL

Chico Tabibuia was born under the name Francisco Morales da Silva in the state of Rio de Janeiro. He is one of the twelve children that his mother had with different fathers. A great-grandson of a slave, Tabibuia worked very hard from his childhood. He could never go to school and remained illiterate. Successively, he worked as a guide for the blind, became a cattle owner and shopkeeper, to end up as a woodcutter. Until 1988 he worked fifteen hours a day, in the forests of Mata Atlântica to support his sixteen children with three different women. 
At the age of forty he began sculpting regularly. Before that, he was forbidden to sculpt his „indecent guys“, first by his mother (when he was ten years old) and later by his first wife. He lives in a region in which there is no folk art or craft production which could have influenced him. 
The phallus is, obviously, the element dominating all his sculptures. All parts of the body can be „read“ as phallic symbols : the head (the head-gland), the legs and the arms, the neck, Exu’s horns, and finally the entire human or animal body… We could interpret these hybrid figures as the variations on the theme of human duality (Animus and Anima), androgyny or bisexuality.