No matter how many, or few, art appreciation classes we have taken in our lives, it is almost a safe bet to assume that if you are a female you have been offended by the almost total lack of representation by women artists across the centuries. It is so insidious that perhaps we take for granted the shocking imbalance. Or worse, perhaps we are so inured to this dearth of female representation in most of the arts that we don’t even question it.
Whatever your response to such gender disproportions, we are happy to announce that there is no shortage of women artists at Galeria Namu! In fact, this article is going to focus precisely on some of the work by women artists that we have available in the gallery and on our website.
It is no coincidence that the traditional family values that still persist in Costa Rica are reflected in their arts; one only has to look at the Folk Art from rural women as they depict their daily life in a way that is unfiltered and unselfconsciously transparent.
The women’s group, Corazones Valientes, personifies both the ambiance of their rural landscape as well as the customs of its people. The family lifestyle is close and connected in a way that we do not find typically in North American cities and towns. The children grow up understanding their place in the family unit; they have roles to play and responsibilities to perform. Mothers, and indeed grandmothers, are matriarchal entities that in a benign way are supportive and caring as they watch over the family’s well-being.
Some interesting artistic representations of this particular dynamic can be seen in the proportions assigned to the mother figure compared to the diminutive size of the children around her. In addition, it is almost comical how men are represented; they tend to be small, almost child-like perhaps signifying equal dependence on powerful and competent matriarchs.
From the rural farms of Costa Rica we turn our attention to the Caribbean coast, where once again we see the strong family figure of the mother or grandmother holding the family securely against all vicissitudes. Her family knows that she is a powerful figure, larger than life and keeper of a long line of the family knowledge, myths and secrets. It would be ill-advised to transgress her love and intelligence.
Eugenia Barrionuevo has captured the essence of the loving spirit and matriarchal integrity of the black families of the Caribbean. Apart from depicting little boys, her emphasis is strongly on motherhood, including pregnancy and the training ground provided within the mother /daughter friendship and closeness. Barrionuevo’s style is primitive with a strong Caribbean flair for colour and light. Her subjects pose before us as if before the camera of a family member: slightly self-conscious but with an intimate freshness that takes us into their world.
Take a good look at the world through the eyes of Costa Rica’s women and feel the free and easy glimpse into a slightly different world order! Your purchase of these works of original art sends a clear and strong message supporting the women artists here in Costa Rica and ultimately, around the world. Click here to view our Women Artists collection.