Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica Returns to Selby Gardens

Todays News


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens plays host to some special guests this month, as several artisans of the Boruca tribe in Costa Rica visit Sarasota along with the 15th Annual Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition. “It’s an international collaboration, really building bridges between our two cultures,” says Selby Gardens CEO Jennifer Rominiecki. “And it’s become a wonderful tradition that the community really looks forward to.” The exhibition opens with a reception on January 5 and runs through January 27.

Several hundred masks will be on display this year, each hand-carved from a single piece of Balsa wood by these Costa Rican artists, and then hand-painted in vibrant colors, with no two exactly the same. “And every year, the number of masks increases, based on demand,” says Rominiecki. Some Selby supporters even have their own collections by now, purchasing a new mask each year. And a portion of all proceeds goes back to the artisans and back to the Boruca tribe, which derives a significant portion of its income from the centuries-old craft.

And accompanying the masks this year, Borucan artists will be in attendance for the opening reception on January 5 (when masks are first for sale, and collectors call dibs) and throughout the first couple weeks, answering questions and performing live demonstrations. “It’s pretty amazing to see,” says Rominiecki, who appreciates celebrating the human element of a region where Selby Gardens engages in so much botanical research. The partnership with the Boruca tribe has grown into a “very strong relationship,” she says, with a “wonderful level of trust.”

Now, as the collaboration rounds its fifteenth year and 2019 dawns, Rominiecki looks to expand on an already fruitful dynamic. “I feel there is more that we can do,” she says.

Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica opens with a reception on January 5 and runs through January 27.

« View The Wednesday Jan 2, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Other Articles in Gallery