Here’ s my personal gallery and account of the
2009 Costa Rica Rainforest Mask exhibition at Selby Gardens @ Sarasota Florida.
For the most part, I will let the pictures of the masks speak for me.
That year, prices ranged from $200 to $1000 for the long totum-like mask. Most were priced in the 400-500 range. All masks were exquisite in their detail and as colorful as the rainforest from which they originated. These are from the Costa Rican rainforest. Originally I was thinking Amazon=Brazil, Peru, etc… But of course, not all rainforests are found in the amazon . . . Just conditioned to go there right away – blame it on Child of the 80s symdrome.
Borucan Mask-Making: The Men Behind the Masks
Almost 20 years ago, Borucan mask-making was nearly lost as an art form. One man, Don Ismael Gonzalez, took it upon himself to re-invigorate the carving tradition by teaching it to a group of young boys. Today the new master carvers are the teachers of a new generation of apprentices. As a result, the Borucan people have a renewed pride in their customs.
There are three distinct styles of masks, each of which tells a specific story about Borucan culture. The first is the Diablito, or devil mask, which comes directly from the festival El Jeugo de LosDiablitos. It is the most traditional, dating back to the Spanish occupation of the region. The second is the Ecologica, featuring the plants and animals of the rainforest. These were originated by the new generation of artists concerned about the imminent threat to their culture form the destruction of their environment. The third is the Combinados. These masks are a metamorphosis of both the Dialito and the Ecologica. They represent the coming together of the old traditions with the new generation.
All masks are original one of a kind designs carved from balsa wood and cedar. The artists use acrylic paint to adorn the balsa images and traditional hand-hewn tools to carve. The design is drawn onto the front surface and then carved. This process creates a relief out of one piece of wood.
Orchids: Nature’s Perfect Mask
Note – Selby gardens started as a Orchid research facility.
A mask by definition is an object that hides reality and enhances an image for the purpose of eliciting a predictable response. Sometimes it mimics a powerful and fearsom entity and in other cases it acts to seduce in order to continue its existence.
The Borucan Indians of Costa Rica are continuing their rich tradition of mask making to ensure their survival. Originally, the masks were used as a ritual defense against the Spanish Invaders. Today they are an exquisite example of an art form which has captured our awareness and invited us to help perpetuate this significant custom.
As with the mask, the orchids image has been specially crafted by Nature through color, shape and aroma to attract the one significant insect or animal suited for its propagation. For this reason Nature has perfected a mask making tradition of its own.
The Rainforest Mask Exhibit is coming back for it’s 7th time at Selby Gardens starting this March 4th 2011 through April 15th.
The Borucans will demonstrate their carving and painting during four “Meet the Artists” sessions in the Museum of Botany and the Arts on Saturdays and Sundays, March 5, 6, 12 & 13 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Spanish interpreters will be available to translate your questions.
Maybe I’ll see you there 😉