Decorative Masks from Costa Rica Return to Selby Gardens in January 2018

December 9, 2017

The 14th annual exhibition and sale runs Jan. 7 – 28, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla., December 9, 2017 – The hand-carved, decorative masks made by the native Borucans of Costa Rica return to Selby Gardens in this 14th annual exhibition and sale Jan. 7 – 18, 2018.

An all-new collection of nearly 600 of the hand-carved and colorfully-painted masks opens to the public following a private opening and sale benefitting the Native Americans to be held 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Fri., Jan. 6.

The mask carving began centuries ago when the Costa Rican natives needed a way to protect themselves against invading conquistadors. Using the wood from Balsa and Cedar trees abundant throughout the Central American country, the Borucans began carving ornate, menacing masks with malevolent spirits, known as Diablitos, to frighten the invaders. Many of the artists today are descended from the original mask carver families.

Guests will have the rare opportunity to purchase these highly collectable, ecological works of art. Proceeds from the mask sales provide valuable financial support to the Borucan village and support the Gardens’ mission and scientific work.

Additional events surrounding the exhibition include:

  • 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Jan. 7: Meet the artists and view mask painting demonstrations. Free with general admission.
  • Noon – 1 p.m., Jan. 10: Lecture, “Borucan Masks, Native Artists and the Role of Fair Trade in Protecting Natural Areas and Ancestral Traditions.” Free with general admission.

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About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic plants such as orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns and other tropical plants, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education. For more information, please visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Regular admission is $20 and $10 children ages 4-17; members and children 3 and under enter free. Contact us at (941) 366-5731 or Get social with us on Facebook, Instagram and more by searching @selbygardens.