The work of artisan Izulina Xavier Gomes is easily seen when you arrive in Corumba. Your first encounter would most likely be ‘Christ the King of Pantanal (Cristo Rei do Pantanal) atop Morro do Cruzeiro, a hill that overlooks the city, giving spectacular views of the Pantanal and Paraguay river.
Highly acclaimed and recognised for many sculpted works made from stone, dust and wood and author of six novels, two books of poems and two plays, I was surprised to learn that Izulina had never attended school. Writing, she says, was a way to tell her story and gain knowledge so that she could read and write properly. Equally surprising, she has never touched a computer or a mobile phone and calls them ´addictions´.
Her first job was in wood, after which she went on to use other materials, creating pieces in concrete with stone dust. She explains that before making any piece, she does not need to do preliminary sketches or studies. She just closes her eyes, breathes and sees the sculpture form from dust or ash, something like a cloud in the air. Then she goes on to create what she sees. Her artistic ability she claims started to come alive in 1982 after a religious promise.