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Mestre Noza Biography

Known as Mestre Noza, Inocencio Medeiros da Costa or Inocencio da Costa Nick was born in Taquaritinga do Norte, Pernambuco in 1897 and died in Sao Paulo in 1983.

He moved to Juazeiro do Norte, Ceara, in 1912, where he arrived as a pilgrim, after walking about 600km from the municipality of Quipapa, Pernambuco, where he was raised.

He performed several activities, including that of police soldier, employee of the railroad Rede Cearense.

From 1930 onwards, he became known as a popular artist and a woodcut artist. His first sculpture was a Saint Sebastian and his first woodcut, a book cover for a cordel literature book commissioned by Jose Bernardo da Silva to illustrate Jose Pacheco’s pamphlet The advertisement of a farmer with a basket of gherkin.

In 1963, Servulo Esmeraldo, an artist from Crato, gave him a series of prints of the Via Sacra and commissioned him with wooden matrices. He was very pleased with the result of Mestre Noza’s work and decided to take them to France, on a trip he made in 1965. He managed to produce a special edition, with only 22 hand-printed copies and launched it in Paris. It was so successful that a new edition of one thousand copies was made, which also sold out quickly.

From then on, orders for Mestre Noza increased a lot and the artist became an object of study in several universities, including European ones. He participated in several exhibitions with works of sculpture and woodcuts in Crato, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Paris.He is also the author of some “pinga” labels and has always been considered the great popular artist of Cariri.

His best-known works are the Via Sacra, a collection of 15 engravings, whose first edition was published in Paris (1965), by the editor Robert Morel, with a presentation by Servulo Esmeraldo; The twelve apostles (13 boards) and A vida de Lampiao (22 boards). He is the author of numerous woodcuts to illustrate the covers of cordel pamphlets, as well as thousands of statuettes of Father Cicero and various saints, throughout Brazil and the world. According to him, in terms of images, in addition to Father Cicero, he also liked to do those of Sao Francisco and Santo Antonio.

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