March gathered some of Costa Rica’s finest artists to Flamingo, as part of the second annual “Festival de Arte.” The weekend-long festival showcased the work of painters and sculptors from across the country, whose work largely reflected a distinctly Costa Rican perspective. From the shadowy shapes of the marine depths, to the robust figures of Guanacaste’s rural women, the life and landscape of the country was a predominant influence in the themes on display.
So too were the natural materials used in the creative process: sculptor Fabio Brenes’ latest collection used reclaimed wood from fallen trees to carve out his theme of ‘germination’ – that of figures emerging from seed pods, harkening to his youth on a farm, where his father taught him the ways of green growing things.
Juan Carlos Camacho’s watercolours captured the quiet scenes of rural life across Costa Rica, the simple homes and red tiled roofs, or the wake of a panga (small boat) as it heads to sea in the early dawn light. Jacqueline Cordoba’s stone and wood sculptures captured the voluptuous curves of living shapes, from the proud bust of a seahorse, to the rounded lines of seated nude. Yet the most plentiful curves were reserved Manuel Vargas’ wooden cholas, the sturdy and proud figures of Guanacaste’s working women, who eked out lives of physical rigour on the cattle ranches of the bajura, or plains.
The impressive collections were but a taste of Costa Rica’s artistic offering, which has already begun to receive international acclaim – artist Deredia’s sculpture St Marcellin Champagnat is currently housed in St Paul’s Basilica, in the Vatican – and a welcome taste, at that, here on the coast of Guanacaste.