Jardim do Nêgo’s Sculpture of Birth
Located several kilometers outside of Nova Friburgo, a town in Brazil’s state of Rio de Janeiro, is the Jardim do Nêgo (Garden of Nêgo). The garden is named after the local sculptor, Geraldo Simplicio (1943 – ), also known as Nêgo. Using the garden as an open air studio, the sculptor has since the early ’80s created numerous figures of animals and people. Nêgo created his pieces first in clay, then coated them in plastic, ultimately leaving them to the natural element of moss native to the humid climate of the region. Here is a vimeo video about Simplicio and his creations.
The image that I’ve found online does not do justice to the size or impressiveness of the clay woman, which stands at at least 15 feet tall. But I can find no other available. Nêgo’s work reminds me of the massive sculptures created by Catalan artist, Xicu Cabanyes, and discussed here in an earlier post. As in the case of Cabanyes’ work, Nêgo’s sculptures are hidden in the peaceful surrounding of nature.
Resting in a squatting position, the enormous woman of Nêgo’s birthing scultpure releases her baby onto the ground before her. One hand holds her leg while the other grasps firmly onto a staff. Resting alone with her baby in nature, she turns her head to one side, mouth open with eyes looking upward.