Portrait of Edilson, 2017.
Charcoal and white chalk on paper, 19 x 24 in.
Edilson, a native of Brazil, is cheerful, conversational and curious. His portrait, drawn in my studio, took about 8 sessions. With the help of his native Samba music, he had time to share some of his life story.
He grew up on a farm in southwest Brazil, near the city Jesuitas, in the State of Parana, three hours from Igauzu Falls—one of the seven natural wonders of the world. His great grandmother was an Indigenous Brazilian. His father grew coffee beans, and the whole family helped with the chores, including tending animals and a garden which fed them. One of his favorite foods was their home-raised pork. He said, “Some parts of the pig were used to make sausage and dry-cured bacon, and the meat itself was fried in its own fat and stored stored in five-gallon tin buckets.” His family also preserved orange juice in air-tight, cork-sealed wine bottles, to drink in the off-season.
Edison immigrated to Richmond 12 years ago, and still cooks traditional Brazilian dishes. He values his childhood experiences working with nature and enjoys working in his garden.