Visitors will enter a world of native Costa Rican art at the annual “Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica” exhibit and sale at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Guests will experience the vibrant, hand-carved and painted balsa wood masks showcased in The Museum of Botany & The Arts at Selby Gardens. The exhibit runs Jan. 5-26.

The exhibit and sale showcases artists from the Borucan Indian tribe of Costa Rica. The masks were originally created hundreds of years ago to defend against Spanish invaders and have since become celebrated works of art.

The majority of the talented residents of the Borucan Village make their living as mask and textile artisans. The masks combine the talents of wood carving artists and skilled painters, leading to an eye-catching and dynamic display of two distinct artistic traditions, while also serving as a representation of the culture and its history.

“The masks are a reflection of the history of the Borucan Indian tribe, while also being collectible works of art,” explained Jeannie Perales, Vice President for Museum Exhibits, Learning & Engagement. “The creation of these masks has continued for generations, and having this art displayed at Selby Gardens gives our visitors the opportunity to bring these stories into their homes and for the Borucan people to share their history with the world.”

Additional events surrounding the exhibit:

• Ticketed opening reception, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 4. Private viewing and sale before the exhibit opens to the general public. Admission to Lights in Bloom is included. Reservation is required.

• Botanical briefing lecture, noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 8. Exhibition: Costa Rica The Road to Boruca and Beyond with Bruce Holst and Jeannie Perales. Included with general admissions, reservation is required.

• Meet the Artists Jan. 5-12: Watch the visiting artists demonstrate their carving and painting skills in the museum galleries.

The exhibit is included with general admission to Selby Gardens and proceeds from the mask sales provide financial support to the Borucan Village and support Selby Gardens’ mission of education, research, and horticulture scientific work.

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