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Marcos Rojas

Marcos Rojas

Hand-painted Boruca masks in Central America

"I love being able to make the richness of my culture known through art. Each mask has a story behind it."

"I am a native of the indigenous Boruca culture of Costa Rica. Here, spirituality, art, respect for nature, and the... read more

"I am a native of the indigenous Boruca culture of Costa Rica. Here, spirituality, art, respect for nature, and the traditions of our ancestors live on. Somewhere around the age of ten, I began my path in art. In my town, art was not well known. At the time, only white masks with natural dyes were made for the Festival of the Little Devils, an annual event that has been going on for more than a hundred years. It is one of our main Boruca cultural festivities.

"Ismael Gonzalez, a winner of the Costa Rican Culture Award, was the only man who could make these masks and, little by little, this tradition was being lost. An initiative by his son arranged for seven boys — including me — to learn this beautiful art from him so that the tradition would not be lost. We learned different painting techniques, but I was always interested in learning more. I was guided by books and by practicing more and more. We students also felt a strong sense of friendship and brotherhood, and became some of my best memories. From Ismael, I also learned respect for our ancestors and our culture.

"My first work of art was an asymmetrical traditional devil mask with inverted horns. Everyone else created symmetrical masks and Ismael found mine amusing. All my designs are original, and I'm in charge of carrying out the entire process of my works of art, from drawing and designing to painting. I love being able to make the richness of my culture known through art. Each mask has a story behind it.

"I am training several boys in my workshop, and I'm also teaching my sister's daughters in their spare time. I like to teach and enjoy sharing what I know. "The Boruca culture should not be forgotten, and I love my Boruca town. I want to take our culture wherever I go. With this goal, I have managed to expand and exhibit my art in other countries such as the United States, Germany and Spain."

4 items by Marcos Rojas

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