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Brazil and Bandits

Ron King with his Bandits
Ron King with his Bandits (photo John Christie)

Ron and the Bandits (Cangaceiros) are off to Flipside Festival in Norfolk from 16th May until 12th June.  Here Ron's life-size wooden sculptures of the notorious Brazilian bandit Lampião and his villainous band can be seen along with Ron's drawings and associated collection at the new Skippings Art Gallery, Great Yarmouth.  The project is also part of an outreach programme for local school children and during the first week they will be able to hear daily talks from Ron about his life-long fascination with the infamous gang, his childhood in Rio de Janeiro and how his early experiences there have and continue to ignite his creativity.  Children will also be able to enjoy his famous pop up, puppetry book 'Anansi Company' about Anansi the spider man and his company of friends...

Lampeao - Cover of Book that inspired Ron for over 70 years  Lampaio and Maria   Lampaio - imagery that can be seen to have influence much of Ron's work

The book above was found by Ron in his father's study and it was in these pages that he first encountered the story, imagery and characters of Lampião and his band.  The title of the book (translated) is "How I Bumped Off Lampião" and was written by the Captain Bezerra who caught and shot to death the eleven of the gang, including the folk hero Lampião and his bandit companion Maria Bonita, when they were betrayed to him.  The gruesome image of their decaptiated heads, which were displayed at the time to prove their capture and deaths, has fascinated Ron since he was 12 years old...  

If you're feeling brave and want to see Captain Bezerra's display of the heads of the dead gang, click on the image of Ron in his bandit hat below...  (Parents be advised) 

Ron King with the bandits...

Ron grew up in Niteroi, a ferry ride from Rio de Janeiro, and has happy memories of his childhood spent there. The photo below is of Guanabara Bay, as seen from the Praia das Flexes (Beach of the Arrows) and is where he used to swim.  See too Ron dressed ready for the carnival; as he says "My childhood with my Brazilian friends, making kites and balloons, masks and folded paper toys and of course the ‘Carnaval’ has had an unending influence on the way I work, darting to and fro from one project to another!".

 Ron King - ready for the Carnival 


Here are a few of Ron's drawings and paintings that he has created over the year's have been inspired by the imagery and folklore of the bandits.   

Lampaio  Lampaio  Evoctas    Dez Dedos - Painting by Ron inspired by Brazilian Bar Signs   Maria Bonita - Ron King

Click here to see some previously unseen collages made by Ron - to be used for etchings at some point.  You can see the imagery of Lampião in all of them, especially his hat and mask. 

We hope you've enjoyed Ron's dedicated page and his Brazilian stories and especially the tales the Brazilian bandits in all their sinister glory.

Thanks go to following organisations for their support: Arts Council England, Chivers Trust, East Anglian Art Fund, ENJOY Great Yarmouth, Flipside Festival, Norfolk Contemporary Art Society and Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust.  

Click on this picture of Ron to read what others are saying about Ron's visit to Skippings Gallery also visit @ronkingstudio for all the brilliant comments !!

Ron King - Skippings