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Origins, An Allegory of Creative Transformation

A large ethnographic mural cycle at the School of the Integrated Arts,

Santa Ana (EMAI), Costa Rica 2010-16  (Blog)

For the School of the Integrated Arts I have chosen to paint a philosophical mural cycle concerning creative life, psychological and spiritual growth, passages and moments of aesthetic joy as well as carnal and spiritual ecstasy. I have sought to evoke an abstract sense of music through luminous color passages, patterns of rhythm and a transparent flow of veiled and emergent forms. I have also sought to celebrate the body in drama and dance, including conscious and unconscious ways in which we alternately mask and reveal ourselves as social beings. 

Structurally, I have thought in terms of various theaters; stages of consciousness in the realization of the individual and, by extension, communities. In addition, the verticality of the architectural panels has facilitated an interpretation of cosmological ideas indigenous to ancient Central Americans, that of the inframundo below, from which life is rooted and from which it springs (primarily represented in warm reds, maroons and oranges) through the middle strata of daily life in transition (ochers) to the supramundo, upper reaches of consciousness (blue- green), all illuminated in vertical ascension.


In 2015 and 2016 I extended the murals down the side of the building on columns, a frieze and several wider panels.  Whereas a general sense of ascension governed the vertical panels, the horizontal panels developed through a sense of extension.  I thought in terms of the ancient Pythagorean notion of the music of the spheres in harmonic motion in intervals and concentric repetitions, of the drama of love, desire and giving birth, primordial “original time”, joy through dance and flight.  The ancient Mesoamerican idea of Precious Twins (duality, Quetzalcoatl) and El Otro Yo (nagualism) also make an appearance in these panels.Through this mural I have sought to embrace the challenge that EMAI presents to the community, to become fully realized, expressive and generous human beings, at home with a sense of beauty and expressivity. One need only walk the corridors of this school to sense the will to live in playful joyousness, full of the energy and intelligence that permeates the hearts and minds of young and old alike. Here one senses verve and an abundance of spirit. 


This mural is hereby given to the Escuela Municipal de Artes Integradas de Santa Ana. It is dedicated to artist-musician and scholar, my friend and colleague of many years, EMAI’s Founder and Director, Dr. Jorge Luis Acevedo Vargas. 

May these murals provoke discussion and provide a venue for contemplation. 

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