Carmem Gusmao grew up in the Brazilian Amazon and was inspired by ritual-centric cultures, symbols, and signs. Gusmao graduated with a degree in Psychology from FICOM-Belem-Para, a degree in Architecture from UNAMA-Belem-Para. Gusmao also studied philosophy for 2 years at the University Newton Paiva-Belo Horizonte-Minas Gerais, Brazil in addition to enrolling in art workshops in Florence, Italy, Spain, France, and the United States. Gusmao credits her artistic influence to her time spent living with the Kayapos Indians in the Amazon.
“One day, with rains and thunderstorms drenching the forest, the red clay dissolved in the soil and I glimpsed one of the most beautiful spectacles that life. Dozens of [Kayapos] Indian ankles brilliantly decorated with crimson bands of Urucum (A Amazon seed) extract interlaced with precise geometric patterns made from the black juice of Genipapo (An Amazon Fruit). That celebrated life, the existence of everything, the force and the courage. At that moment, the only thing I knew was that while the painted ankles existed, so too would my work in divulging this spectacular culture which, without a doubt, influenced the growth of the Brazilian nation. And so, my little clay rolls and my little bricks of adobe had been born as the trays of life. Of the land that drained wet between my fingers, I now play God and create inside of fragile boxes of iron, my form of indestructible Kayapos Indians!” – Gusmao