First edition

First edition

Pi Art Festival

June 1, 2023
First edition of Pi Art Festival
Islita, Costa Rica’s little art island
March 14–21, 2023
Pi Art Festival
Islita, Guanacaste
50906 Islita
Costa Rica

T +506 8871 5910
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Extreme remoteness and a dreamlike atmosphere isolate the village of Islita (Little Island) from the rest of the Pacific coastline of Costa Rica.

Attached to the continental plate, the village of Islita is considered Costa Rica’s art “island.” This precious village is the heart of the center of a Great Community—as locals refer to the land between Bongo River and Ora River—well known for being the best-preserved territory inside the Blue Zone of Nicoya, in Guanacaste.

Held between March 14–20, Pi Art(e) Festival launched its first edition imbued in the essence of Islita’s art. The festival brought its heart into focus for the world to appreciate. As creative director and co-founder Julian Mora writes in the inaugural manifesto: “The relationships between art, landscape, technology, knowledge, and community are complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving, but they all contribute to our shared cultural heritage and experience.”

PiArt(e) is a convergence of these elements, shaped in a holistic dialogue through the work exhibited by some sixty four regional and international artists. The week-long visual arts fair at the Salón Comunal (a rural, community/village hall renovated into art gallery) was accompanied by back to back, day and nighttime events that included music, cinema, sports, gastronomy, talks, and workshops.

“Paying tribute to collective artistic exploration and knowledge dissemination are key”, says Pi’s co-founder, Hector Anchía. Together with Mora, Anchía seeks to expand the impact of Islita’s cultural production, by generating a creative form of tourism in a virtuous relationship with the local community.

Pi’s art island: an homage to pioneers
One of the most rewarding aspects of PiArt(e) is the homage paid to the origins of the cultural initiatives of Islita, which began with the foundation of the Islita Museum of Contemporary Art (IMCA), and its residency program, more than 20 years ago, continues to explain Anchía.

One of Pi’s most emblematic art pieces is a pyramidal outdoor installation entitled Coyosfera, by Costa Rican artist Francesco Bracci. The walls of the pyramid are composed of hollow rings made from the outer bark of the Coyol palm tree (a waste material of tropical wood production).

Inside the Salón Comunal, Guatemalan artist Marlov Barrios presents four canvases of colorful totemic imagery, recalling the unique architecture of the ridges of a fingerprint. Renacer del tiempo (Time Reborn), created specifically for the festival consisting of four canvases mounted over an in-situ wall mural of two faces in profile recalling Mesoamerican motifs.

Barrios considers decentralizing artistic and cultural expressions to be essential. For Central America and much of the world, unfortunately, artistic production mostly takes place in capital cities and urban areas. “Art is a vital way to build community,” says Barrios, “to generate a fabric of integration, dialogue, identity, and memory.”

Akin to Barrios’ approach artist and activist Ariela Kader’s work demonstrates her ongoing involvement with the community of Islita. In 2000, Kader embarked on her first residency at the IMCA, returned in 2013, and, a decade later, participated in the PiArt(e) Festival. During her six-week stay, she conducted workshops with kindergarten and elementary school children, as well as local female artisans. Together, the participants transformed abundant plastic waste (collected in the surroundings), into artworks that were later installed as part of the show in the Salón Comunal.

Throughout the festival, co-founder, Héctor Anchía witnessed the realization of PiArt(e)’s vision through engaging workshops and activities. Visitors were able to build meaningful connections and immersed themselves in a truly enchanting experience. A unique cultural phenomenon driven by the commitment to regenerative development.

As part of its inaugural aim, the PiArt(e) Festival provided a comprehensive representation of Costa Rican culture and the complexity of the region’s cultural identities. It strengthen the endeavors of artists and encouraged new participants to become a central part of the vibrant and diverse community of Islita, Costa Rica’s little art island.

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Pi Art Festival
June 1, 2023

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