Clay and earth are cultural landmarks in a peculiar community located in the semi-arid region of a transition zone between the Cerrado and Caatinga biomes in Brazil, the Oleiras do Candeal Community. It is in the north of Minas Gerais where, for more than a century, women potters have been preserving and materializing their traditional knowledge of earth transformation in the community’s territory. Seen as a territory of fight and resilience due to the prolonged droughts and lack of rainy seasons, for generations, pots have been made by women potters from this community for the storage of food and water.

This project aims to safeguard the cultural lifestyles of the Oleiras do Candeal community through the documentation of their endangered knowledge of ceramic pot production and the earthen architecture, particularly the use of adobe and pau-a-pique techniques, which have been inherited from the ancient Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants who inhabited the region over the years. Although the community’s lifestyles are full of cultural and social values, it has become increasingly culturally and environmentally unsustainable due to the loss of natural resources and  lack of traditional continuity into new generations.

This project will seek collaborative methods of documentation that provides cultural, environmental, and digital engagement through workshops and experimental activities. Contributing to the democratization of this heritage, the project will involve young women from the community in its development, including them in the fieldwork activities, training them to register their cultural assets, and enabling them to give continuity to their legacy’s documentation. To inclusion and ensure the collection availability at the local level, this project also aims to create a small cultural receptive, which will receive an exposition with the data collected in the documentation.


Ana Carolina Brugnera

Lucas Bernalli Fernandes Rocha

Location of Research:
Cônego Marinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Host Institution:
Pequi do Cerrado Institute


Top Banner Image: Photo: Ana Carolina Brugnera