"When someone puts on a mask, actually, he is unmasking himself, as hidden aspects of his personality become visible."
"I am a sculptor, art director and teacher specializing in masks. The basis of my formation was architecture, a course where I discovered myself as an artist and from where launched my search as a self-taught creator. I still worked as a technician, supervising works on the Rio-Nitéroi bridge – one of the largest in the world – when I began to create sculptures in resin. My first exhibition brought an invitation to work in theater as scenographer. From there on, I was responsible for the art direction in the film Love at First Sight by Arnaldo Jabor and for the masks on a number of shows, among them, Sacos & Canudos, which won me the Mollière Especial prize in 1976, Mãe do Mato, O Avarento, The Merchant of Venice, and Noite de Reis..
"The experience in the theater was my first laboratory. The work with masks had its beginning with puppet theaters. I applied the concepts of architecture – that is, the organization of space – to the microcosm of the face. The expression of the face is one of the main bases of human communication. More and more, I specialized in sculpting expressions and this led to other work possibilities. With Daniel Azullay, the designer responsible for creating very popular children's characters in the 1980s, I sculpted the faces of his personages. Soon afterward, with horror films in vogue, I was invited to do the first masks of Brazilian latex in industrial scale. Adapting the horror images that circulated in stores around the world, I created products that won over Brazilian shops. This allowed me a greater understanding of the role of the mask – they are elements present in day-to-day life that one can put on and take off quickly. When someone puts on a mask, actually, he is unmasking himself, as hidden aspects of his personality become visible.
"Brazil is a country of racial mixtures with an enormous diversity of human types and archetypes. It is as if all of the masks of the world have passed through here. The cultural wealth is enormous and with this, a lot of 'raw material' exists to elaborate new pieces and I try to look for images linked to the Brazilian identity. As an artist, I insist on affirming myself as black, because in Brazil something terrible exists – that is the social invisibility of the African descendent.
"As an art educator, I teach at the Escolinha de Arte do Brasil and in the Projeto Aprendizes-Gávea, made possible by the City of Rio, UniãoEuropéia and Arteófico Cultural Organization. I always seek the opportunity to awaken in others the possibility to be anything, even an artist. The aesthetic phenomenon has a mobilizing potential. A mystery exists in the form; the image has many meanings."
From Ian Michalsky, a theater critic, a warning about "the innovations" that Marcílio Barroco introduced in the contemporary scene, with his movable sculptures:
"Mãe do Mato, a piece staged by the group 'Na Corda Bamba,' was revolutionized with the masks of Marcílio…. Exposed, these pieces reveal the whole potential of the shapes created by Marcílio Barroco, who in his search for form meets again the expressive meaning of other Brazilian mulattos – Alejadinho, Mestre Valentim, Mestre Athaíde, Manuel Dias e Pe." José Maurício….
"Marcílio Barroco's 'forms' are luxurious, strongly dramatic on the conception when placed in the spotlight. Under these circumstances, they open space for the fruition of the show in that these forms participate in the scene. As far as plastic shapes, they recur to the origins of the aesthetic phenomenon – the myth. Used as masks, they reencounter the rite. The roots of the arts." - Elmer Correia Barbosa, President of the Brazilian Association of Art Critics, Director of the Art History Department, PUC