Viria Salas Araya

Country: Costa Rica

Title:  La mujer protegiendo el gato de los perros / Woman Protecting the Cat from the Dogs

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Size: 20" x 16"

The World's Women On-Line!

Araya is one of six members of Corazones Valientes (Valiant Hearts), a women's folk-art cooperative from Costa Rica. All of the women live in La Unión de Monterrey, a small agricultural village in the north-central part of the country. They develop their own designs and paint them with acrylic and watercolor on paper and on hand-carved cedar trays. The group started as a drawing class in May 1991 when Rebecca Hart, a Peace Corps volunteer, responded to requests from the women to teach them how to draw. The goal of the course was to engage the world around them through their art. They began by drawing familiar things in their lives-- their bedrooms, kitchens, houses, families. Then they worked on composition, learning to combine their simple, separate drawings to make more complex works. After five months they began painting and incorporating color. By January 1992, they were selling paintings to various galleries in San José, Costa Rica. The art they create deals with their everyday lives, traditions, customs, work, recreation, history, myths, and dreams. The women of Corazones Valientes are now part of a movement of Costa Ricans to recognize the uniqueness of their country and preserve it through developing their own expression.

Araya is in her thirties, married, and has four children. She was the oldest of twelve growing up in a family that continually changed residences. She helped her mother raise her siblings. She is active politically and is the spokesperson for the group at functions and presentations. She is very active in town councils and committees. She is active in the Catholic church in the community and teaches the catechism in the town. Of all the women in Corazones Valientes, Araya is the most well off in terms of material belongings. Hers is the only husband who isn't a farmer. He is a nurse. She is not able to paint as much as she would like because of her involvement in the different community activities. Her paintings a based on her home life and everyday scenes.

Corazones Valientes' selected exhibitions include: La Mama La Galeria, New York, 1999; St. John the Divine, New York, 1998; Elsa Mott Gallery: YWCA, New York, 1998; Right Brain Gallery, Atlanta Georgia, 1998; Folk Fest '97, Atlanta, 1997; Casa de la Cultural Popular José Figueres, Costa Rica, 1997; Centro Cultural Managua, Managua, Nicaragua, 1996; Schattam Gallery, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1996; Casa Cultural Julia de Burgos, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1995; Unity Church Art Gallery, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1994; Maya's Room in Silliman College, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1994; First Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1993; Northfield Arts Guild, Northfield, Minnesota, 1993; Anne Harper Gallery, Amagansett, New York, 1993; Festival of Nations, St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1993; Janet Wallace Gallery, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1993; and Costa Rican Independence Day Special Celebration, Ordway Theater, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1992.

Home Artist Index Search Introduction