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Amaro Francisco Borges

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Amaro Francisco Borges

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Last update: 02/04/2018

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Amaro Francisco Borges was born on 12 March 1939, in Sítio Piroca, in the town of Bezerros, Pernambuco.

Popular artist, brother of J. Borges, the famous xylographer, son of poor parents, he worked in the sugarcane fields from the age of seven to thirteen at the Catende plantation, Pernambuco. From then on he began to make bricks and liana baskets together with his brother J. Borges.

Moving to Recife in search of a better life, he worked as a builder’s labourer, a profession that paid the bills and enabled him to support his family until 1972.

But the direct contact with cement caused a strong allergic skin reaction, especially on his hands, hindering his work as a labourer.

He returned to Bezerros for treatment and reunited with his brothers and nephews, who were already well-known woodcutting artists, and began to work intensely as a carver of decorative figures.

As a popular artist, Amaro Francisco possessed a limitless and timeless creative freedom. He works, creates and transmits his images with strong traces of northeast culture, intertwined with his profile as a man who has suffered.

The main theme of his work focuses on existential anguish, which transmits a painful image of the drought and of displaced families escaping hunger and thirst in the Northeast semi-arid region.

The artistic expression of xylographer Amaro Francisco is along primitive lines, whose imagination, the integral aspect of the great universe of marginalised artists, draws on the fruits of his own life conditions, to give birth to its existential anguish.

His works are almost all in black and white and with few details. According to the artist, the strong and beautiful images, when printed in black and white, spark more interest and attention in the public. To better understand his clients, Amaro also prints his old designs on cotton fabrics, in black and white and in colour.

His workshop is at his home, situated on Rua Carlos Gomes, in Bezerros. His woodcuts vary in size and theme, and number more than two hundred pieces.

Recife, 1 July 2003.
Updated on 20 August 2009.
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2011.

sources consulted

BATISTA, Sebastião Nunes. Antologia da literatura de cordel. Natal: Fundação José Augusto, 1977. 81 p.

PEIXOTO, Virgília Ribeiro. Um artista popular: Amaro Francisco. Recife: UFPE, 1980.




how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Amaro Francisco Borges. Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.