Costa Rica's most remote art gallery
Updated: Sep 17, 2018
In a world of random city art galleries and souvenir art shops, there is a need for the kind of art that connects the viewer more authentically with a place. Artists and underwater hunters, Elizabeth and Leo wanted to give their guests at The Jaguar’s Jungle an experience gained from a journey that you can’t get from a trip to your local museum.
Art on the Osa
At the heart of the Osa, in the world’s last primary coastal rainforest, visitors can observe unique art pieces made from the food they are served… hand speared fish. With slight variations, their painting technique dates to the 1800’s when Japanese fisherman rubbed the fish they caught with non-toxic ink and then printed them on rice paper before the invention of cameras. This art form known as gyotaku, can be achieved with fresh, unrefrigerated catches that have not been scaled.
The couple are always experimenting with methods and materials that can best withstand the seaside jungle climate, and tastefully display the works around common areas and rooms.
Spearfishing is a necessary part of running a sustainable business in the most remote coastal jungle of Costa Rica where there are no roads or grocery stores. With an entire hotel to feed, Elizabeth and Leo can often be found out in the water freediving to depths of 40-100 feet to bring back food for the week. Making fine art from fish impressions gives the visitors eating those fish a new appreciation for the creature that died for their nourishment by seeing what the animal looked like before it was cut into.
After placing the original paintings throughout the hotel, the couple noticed that guests became more interested in the fishing process and the art works became educational pieces that guests could take home and share with their families. The artists’ wish is that the pieces will facilitate conversations of sustainable fishing and hunter-gatherer ways of life that have been forgotten about. They wish to provoke thoughts about what is available in the grocery stores and build a deeper relationship with the food we eat. As a society, we have become disconnected with the food we put into our bodies and where it comes from. At The Jaguar’s Jungle, visitors can find a reconnection.