Bahian sculptor Deoscóredes Maximiliano dos Santos, known as Mestre Didi, is widely known for combining the social roles of priest, religious adherent, and artist. His name is connected to the struggle for the acknowledgement and respect for the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Orisha worship. Initiated by Iyalorixá Eugênia Ana dos Santos, Mãe Aninha, in 1936, he took on the position of Assoba, the highest order in Orisha worship in the land of Obaluayê/Omolu and went on to manufacture ritual objects of this Orisha. He was later initiated as Alapini, the most important priest of Egun ancestral worship, an ancient Yoruba tradition originating in Nigeria.
Since the 1960s, his work has circulated inside and outside of Brazil. The quality of the exhibition of his works is evidenced by the rich dialogue achieved between the sacredness of the Nagô traditions and the permanence of African values in the contemporary world. In the original objects that Mestre Didi developed, memory is creation. Revered as the ‘Sculptor of the Sacred’ in 2009 at the Afro Brazil Museum, the artist-priest possesses works in private and public collections, including at the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia and the Afro Brazil Museum in São Paulo.