In 1962 Iberê made a series of drawings and studies for a panel and tapestry based on the legend of Boitatá. The commissioned work was made on a Formica panel to be installed in the building of the Sindicato de Corretores de Seguros e Capitalização do Estado da Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro.
The Brazilian writer João Simões Lopes Neto (1865-1916) dedicated his work to the legends, tales and stories of his home state of Rio Grande do Sul. His book Lendas do Sul (Legends of the South), which includes the legend of Boitatá, was published in 1913.
To the Tupi-Guarani, Boitatá is a snake of fire, and the legend revolves around this creature. On a pitch-black rainy night the land is ﬂooded with darkness. Water ﬂoods into shelter of a huge snake and the creature goes in search of food: it feeds on the eyes of animals. Its skin is so thin that all the eyes inside its body leave traces of light wherever it goes. The animals’ eyes cannot sustain it and the snake weakens. As time passes it becomes boitatá, the snake of fire that explodes with light. And the night is over.