Originally a fisherman by profession, Nilo became interested in the visual arts when he was about 30 years old and began to take free art courses offered at the Museum de Artes Moderna in Salvador. Nilo began printmaking in 1993 and now concentrates totally on his art for his livelihood. He seeks buyers for his prints among tourists to Salvador and among visitors to Candomblé ceremonies throughout the city. Nilo is knowledgeable about the orixás through his personal experience with African Brazilian dance.

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