Fernando da Ilha do Ferro (Fernando Rodrigues dos Santos)
1928 - 2009, Ilha do Ferro | AL


He was born in the oldest house of Ferro Island, in the middle of São Francisco River. He went to school, he tells Celso Brandão, but never learned how to write his name, although says that he understands the rock inscriptions in the region. In his early youth he worked on the land, planting rice, corn and beans, He is a provocative character in both life and arts has a book dictated and transcribes of humorous anecdotes, hunting stories and roguish pranks.  Son of a clog maker, he began in the arts world by small objects in his father’s workshop. When he was 40 years old, he built his first piece of furniture: a deckchair. In the 1970s he resumed his father’s profession, redesigning the original clogs. In 1979, a trip to Rio de Janeiro was also to influence his inventor’s path, since by 1980 on his return home, he began new projects, building the Bar Redondo, whose tables and sculptural chairs were the start of his career as sculptor and furniture designer. Benches he made were displayed in 1987 at the Brésil Arts Populaires exhibition, in the Grand Palais, Paris, and today are on show in the permanent popular art exhibition of the São Francisco Cultural Center in João Pessoa, capital of Paraíba State. He exhibited in the Paraíba Popular Arte Museum and Casa Cor in São Paulo, in 2001, winning an award for the environment of designer Arthur Casas, which included Fernando’s     three – legged high-backed chair. He took part in the O Sentar Brasileiro exhibition with 100 chair and benches, which inaugurated the new Curitiba Museum by Oscar Niemeyer, where three pieces of his were displayed in the main room, alongside the furniture by the Campana brothers. He has an acute taste for the organic, well-balanced furniture, but which, when transferred to his sculpture at the turn of the 20th to 21st century; he creates a no less fascinating groups of terrifying beast-like, very often hybrid, creatures. He frequently conceptual outlines of modernity make him also portray an arm of Ayrton Senna as an ex-votos, with a drum face for ceremonial drumming for the death of the Formula-1 idol. This object also is used as a vacuum flask on his hunts, since it is covered with aluminum. His presence contributes to the gradual revelation of Ferro Island as a creative center inhabited by numerous artists.


Source: Little Dictionary of the Brazilian People’s Art – 20th Century, by anthropologist and poet Lélia Coelho Frota


Individual Exhibitions:


2021 Fernando Rodrigues Ilha do Ferro, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Collective Exhibitions:


2012 - 2013 Janete Costa "A look", Museu Janete Costa, Niterói, RJ, Brazil

2010 Brazilian Art: beyond the system, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2010 Pavilion of Brazilian Cultures: Pure Mixtures, Pavilhão de Culturas Brasileiras, Pq. Ibirapuera, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2009 Art-Madrid, Pabellón de Cristal, Casa de Campo, Madrid, Spain

2009 Casa Brasil Fair, Parque de Eventos Bento Gonçalves, RS, Brazil

2007 Exhibition of Artists and Artisans, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Selected Publications:


2012 Janete Costa "A look ", Mario Santos, Lis Gráfica, pg 88, 89, 91

2010 Brazilian Art: beyond the system, Galeria Estação, Lis Gráfica, pg 26, 27

2007 Exhibition of Artists and Artisans, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil



SP Arte 2009

14.05.2009 - 17.05.2009
são paulo

Janete Costa: A Glance

16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013
são paulo

Fernando Rodrigues - Ilha do Ferro

25.03.2021 - 15.05.2021



Ilha do Ferro e Seus Arredores