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expand Artist: Flauberto de Medeiros
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Maria Bonita ("beautiful Maria") and her husband Lampião lived in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, in the dry Sertão-countryside of Brazil's northeast region. They were ringleaders of a gang of "Cangacerios" (outlaws), who were feared due to their maliciousness. For years they roamed the land and evoked fear and terror in the inhabitants. All landowners and the well-to-do had to constantly watch their backs, for fear of being robbed and killed by the couple and their gang of thieves.
It has been said of Maria Bonita that she has the courage of a hundred men because she was a woman in the middle of a band of robbers, who she and Lampião incited to commit all sorts of crimes. The bandits broke all laws and created their own rules. Yet the beautiful and ambitious Maria Bonita has become a cult figure in the northeast. Her unabashed and dominant style remains evident in the women of northeastern Brazil today, to whom we ascribe male characteristics. At public festivals, dancers appear dressed and coiffed as Maria Bonita, completely imitating their model's appearance.
Flauberto de Medeiros

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