Brazilian Artist Brings Ancient Egypt Back to Life

Pharaohs, pyramids, mummies, temples and hieroglyphs inspire the work of Brazilian artist Eduardo Vilela, who reproduces in his pictures and sculptures replicas of Archaeological items.

Some of his works may be seen at travelling exhibition "Ancient Egypt – Myths and Symbols," which has been travelling the country since 1997. The next stop is Shopping Colinas, in the city of São José dos Campos, in the interior of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil.

Vilela’s passion for Egypt began in 1964, when the artist, then at the age of 12, saw a film about Egyptian civilizations. "I was so fascinated that I started going to book stores and libraries, after further information regarding the country," explained the artist.

"Normally, apart from photographs, the books showed the dimensions of the works," recalled Vilela. That was how the first replicas arose. "At the time I did not have much technique, nor adequate material, but I worked anyway."

After some time he had a small sample of his work, with dozens of statues, utensils and ornaments. The first exhibit was organized at school, when he was a high school student.

In that period, which the artist defines as his first Egyptian phase, there were many exhibitions, including one at the Syrian-Lebanese Club, in the port city of Santos, on the coast of São Paulo state.

At the age of 28, explains Vilela, he decided to dedicate himself to another theme. He started a phase of oil on canvas, and in the next ten years he produced over four thousand works, including landscapes and human figures. In the next four years he worked with terra cotta structures, mainly inspired on mythical themes.

It was only in 1989, when he finally managed to realize his dream of visiting Egypt, that the artist began the second phase of his work.

"I took advantage of the opportunity to picture everything. On coming back to Brazil, I returned to making replicas, this time using other material and with much more technique. If in the past I only managed 60% resemblance, now I can reach 80%," he guarantees.

After the second trip to Egypt, in 1996, Vilela decided to set up the "Ancient Egypt – Myths and Symbols" exhibition. The replicas exhibited, according to the artist, were produced based on a careful study of the originals, thus representing faithful copies in terms of form, dimension, color and detail, respecting cracks, stains and other natural wear.

"First of all the originals are measured, photographed from various angles and studied historically," he explained.

Vilela produces replicas out of terra cotta, plaster, wood, and different resin. He produces, for example, from ancient utensils of daily use to collars and pectorals of fine jewelry; he also molds mortuary masks and statues, faithfully reproducing the marks of time on the original pieces.

Starting from a polystyrene mold covered in resin, plaster and glue, for example, Vilela sculpted the mummy of a priest, a replica of another that is found in the Egyptian Museum in the Vatican, and also produced a copy of the 1.80 meter casket he has been resting in for 3,000 years.

The exhibition also includes surrealist pictures inspired on the Egyptian culture and has explanatory plates that supply a general vision of the life of the Pharaohs: temples, mythology, funeral customs and aspects of their daily life.

The texts on the plates bring precise and scientific data, signed by Egyptologist Maurí­cio Schneider, who has a University of São Paulo doctorate and experience in archaeological work in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, in Egypt.

Exhibition "Ancient Egypt – Myths and Symbols" will take place in São José dos Campos from October 18th to November 2nd. Eduardo Vilela was born in Assis, in the interior of the state of São Paulo.

Contact

Telephones: (+55 11) 4455-3051 or (+55 11) 8201-7462 – with Moretto
E-mail: egitoantigo@ibest.com.br

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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