Scary Faces, Colorful Places

January, 2021. Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida displayed a collection of masks and vivid carvings from Costa Rica. The tradition started 500 years ago when the Spanish came for their land and gold. So the natives of Boruca carved dramatic masks and scared the invaders away. Every year they celebrate their victory by recreating these masks that retell the story and showcase their love of the rainforest.

The first series are the actual masks:

These same artists use the same piece of balsawood to create scenic sculptures. One person makes the design. Another does the carving and another finishes the piece with multiple layers of paint. There were over 300 pieces on display and only 30 were left unsold.

What amazed me about the craftsmanship is each one is carved from a single piece of wood. Nothing else added other than the beaks of the humming birds and the stamen of the anthuriums.