Born in 1928, Samico stood at the forefront of the country’s Armorial Art Movement in the ‘70s. A collaboration between artists, writers, musicians, dancers, and visual artists, this multidisciplinar movement served to popularize and support the folk culture of northeastern Brazil, aiming at creating genuine Brazilian art influenced by indigenous, black and European cultures.

Samico became widely known when he drew inspiration for his work from the regional literatura de cordel [string literature], small zine-type booklets sold on streets and flea markets that were commonly displayed on hanging chord strings. Their pages are filled with woodblock prints of mythical poems and drawings that recount traditional folkloric tales.

As art aficionados more frequently reach further south of the American border to add to their collections, the demand for Samico’s work is growing in interest and value. He plays a key role in the global rediscovery of Latin American art; his meticulously executed depiction of Brazilian folk culture has turned him into an internationally celebrated artist. With nearly three hundred group and solo exhibitions, Samico participated twice in the Venice Biennale where he was celebrated with an award, and appears as part of the permanent selections of prestigious art collections, such as the MoMA in New York.


Gilvan Samico (1928-2013) is one of the great masters of Brazilian visual arts. He began his career as a painter but found his most remarkable expression as an engraver. He’s shown works in over three hundred individual and group exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, and remains an icon in the Armorial Art Movement led by multi-artist Ariano Suassuna. Among many other distinctions, Samico was celebrated by the Venice Biennale during his second year at the event and participates in the collections of prestigious museums and art institutions such as Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and New York’s MoMA. His work is exponent of figurative modern art and fundamental to understanding the richness and plurality of the arts in Brazil. Samico participated in the Mercosur Biennial in 2015 and the International Biennial of Curitiba, and his works will be present in the next Biennial of São Paulo. His art is filled with mystical characters, costumed animals, scenic legends, and stories with an indigenous repertoire. Samico’s themes are strongly rooted in pop culture of the northeastern region of Brazilian, commonly expressed by literatura de cordel [string literature], small booklet-type stories written in poems and illustrated by woodcuts.


The painter, draftsman, and engraver Gilvan José de Meira Lins Samico (1928–2013) began his career in the arts in the early ‘50s as a member of the Modern Art Society in Recife, Brazil. His friend and artist, Abelardo da Hora founded the association, and together with its members they supported popular art and folkloric stories from the northeastern region of Brazil. Samico studied the woodcut engraving technique with Lívio Abramo at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art’s Handcrafts School in 1957. Later he learned printmaking with Oswaldo Goeldi at the Escola de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro.

In the ‘60s Samico’s work moved away from Goeldi’s expressionist forms and took a new turn. By suggestion of multi-artist Ariano Suassuna, he turned to the themes ofliterature de cordel [string literature] —  pamphlets sold at fairs and markets that combine narrative poetry, xylography art covers, and music through which its verses are sung. The stories inside populate the engravings with mythical figures, animals and scenes: "I knew the popular writers and did not want to imitate them. I read the brochures and saw that, in the text yes, there were inspiring in how they go beyond the real world, were the stories that interested me," he explained in a 2004 interview for the Folha de São Paulo.

In 1965 Samico moved to Olinda to begin teaching woodcut at the Federal University of Paraíba, a small historical town known for its high concentration of artists and ateliers. Shortly after he was celebrated with an award at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (MAM), inspiring him to reside in Europe in the years to come. Samico’s decision to stay abroad was pivotal in his career, it enabled important exchanges with other artists and increased the visibility of his art internationally.

Dream Box is representative of Samico’s collection and its curators Clara Clarice and Marcelo Peregrino Samico in the United States. For more information, please visit