"I am a Thalidomide baby. The medicine was used to control nausea during pregnancy, but it is the cause of my physical limitations. Even though both my arms end at the elbow,...
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"I am a Thalidomide baby. The medicine was used to control nausea during pregnancy, but it is the cause of my physical limitations. Even though both my arms end at the elbow, I learned how to paint, and today my art is one of our main sources of support for my mother and me.
"I'm Ronaldo Pio dos Santos of Belo Horizonte. I was born in 1960, the son of José Pio dos Santos Sobrinho (of Italian ancestry), an electronics technician. He passed away 20 years ago. My mother, Dona Altair, is more than 70 years old and has dedicated her life to her home and her nine children.
"For two years, I lived in São Paulo, trying to adapt to mechanical arms in the SESI Hospital where patients had to choose an occupation. My choice was art. In the beginning, I used colored pencil techniques, soon afterward a wax pencil, later gouache. I then developed the painting techniques that dominate my work today. My painting surprised everyone who discovered my talent.
"What began as occupational therapy has became the basis of my life, bringing me happiness, satisfaction, personal and professional accomplishment as well as financial stability."
Ronaldo Pio has shown his work in throughout Brazil and it also figures in collections in the United States, Japan and several European countries.