Born in São Vicente, Rio Grande do Norte, in 1942. His first solo show took place in Rio de Janeiro at Galeria Vila Rica, in 1963.
He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1967, two years after receiving Jury Exemption from the “XIII National Salon of Modern Art”, in which he had already participated in the previous year. He traveled to Europe, where he would remain for two years, settling in London, where he exhibited at the Galeria Embaixada do Brasil (1970), at Galeria Debret, Paris (1971) and at Galerie Holzinger in Munich in the same year.
He returned to Brazil in 1972 and participated in group exhibitions in Europe and Brazil. His painting documents the northeastern oral literature, preserving the same savory titles in Cordel's booklets.
Geraldo E. de Andrade wrote in 1979: “Painter with a regional flavor? Much more than that. The authenticity of Iaponí's plastic creation, combined with an excellent workmanship and good composition and color solutions, contribute to the potiguar artist being included among our best painters of the genre.”.
“Whoever saw the boy Iaponí at the initial speed, salutes the accredited Ambassador of Tropical Polychromia,” wrote historian and critic, Luís da Câmara Cascudo.
The art critic Clarival do Prado Valadares wrote: “Iaponí brings to his paintings the titles of Cordel's literature, which is the native material of his work. Transforming this matter of dense historicity into a new text shaped by colors and shapes is his serious commitment and it is also his poetics”.
He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1996.