Votive Offerings 2012-11-30

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December 21 y 22, 2012

An offering of the heart to Mother Earth, through the birthing of a new state of consciousness

Click here to see the pictures Ex votos 2012


exvotos_afiche 1995 was a turning point in my life.  I was in Berlin, when a long term project began to form itself; an altruistic desire to generate change through my art.

My intention was to create symbols of faith, to raise the energy and sanity on Planet Earth.

It is difficult to bring about change.   One must start by facing one’s own demons… specially fear, one of humanity’s greatest foes.

I began an arduous trajectory, in an environment of conventionality and criticisms which hunted my every move.  The art world, an eternal paradise for many but a dream come true to so few, belongs to us all.

I chose art’s spiritual dimension.  In 1999 this opened to a greater degree for me after receiving Pope John Paul II’s letter addressed to all artists, through my friend and artist Zulay Soto. This was like a portal opening and with more strength than ever; I went forward with my purpose.

2000 - An artwork inspired on the sacred aspect of Mother Earth marked the beginning of a new era.  This idealistic and romantic concept didn’t find a home to welcome it, and so I was forced to exhibit it in my own studio.  In those days, figurative oil paintings featuring flowers and women were not taken seriously.  At that time in Costa Rica, the vanguard art movement TEORETICA proposed erasing the Latin American artist from collective memory, as being someone who paints flowers and women.  In the end, this very movement spurred on the birth of the Taller del Artista.

The Element of Fire did not hold back, and in the year 2001 a ritual took place in the Galeria Nacional that was inspired by the tradition of light in Christian philosophy.  What ignited this project was a walk I took through San José with Fabio Herrera and Mario Maffioli.  We suddenly came upon a fire ceremony in the Plazoleta de la Soledad.  We didn’t have a candle to join in, and Alfonso Chase handed us one so we could celebrate the Christmas ritual of the year 2000.

That was the time when the Taller del Artista began to function regularly and with it was born a new window for the Costa Rican art scene.  During two full years of sharing with artists from all disciplines, nine symbols were born.  These were lovingly embroidered and intervened. Hundreds of visitors, friends and artists would come bringing wine, bread and flowers to share in the artistic experience that was taking place here.  They all enjoyed the beautiful sanctuary that had been handed to me by life and that with time would transmute into an all embracing art concept.

In tandem with the creation of the multisensory space that is Café Arte Costa Rica, the artistic concept of Air as creative element was born, and it formed part of the world movement for the Liberation of Tibet.  These have also become allegorical symbols in ‘Letter to the Earth’.

In the year 2003, while the winds of war were blowing, the artwork ‘Prayer Flags’ was erected.  This work comprised 9 prayer flags that symbolized the new declaration of Human Rights.

They have been exhibited in various places around the world.  In 2006 one of them was stolen in the International Art Festival of San José, Costa Rica.  This made me deeply sad and prompted me, with the creative development of the Water Element, to bring the art project based on the Elements to completion.  This cycle came to a close in 2007with the creation of ‘El Sexto Sol’ (The Sixth Sun) which symbolizes Eternal Evolution. This is a circular architectural artistic intervention covered with recycled mosaic, and it holds 27.000 gallons of water.  Its center is a mandala crowned with a piece of the Berlin Wall, which is where this story began.

Click here to see the pictures Ex votos 2012

The year 2008, witnessed the birth of Love, Faith and Hope.  Three banners that were later exhibited in the Salón de los Encapuchados of the Tricentenaria University of Central America and the University of San Carlos. USAC.
2009 – 2010  Over 15 years devoted to the development of reflective, contemplative art.  It was the beginning of a new period of communal work in an indigenous zone of Guatemala.  The result was, La Cruz de San Pedro, (The Cross of San Pedro), together with the Corpus Christi banners which were created by the lake shore.  They are an appeal to humanity for the protection of Atitlán Lake. 

Simultaneously, there came about a garden on the shores of this aquifer.  The real contribution of this garden was a campaign designed to pick up the trash that had collected along the shore and the raising of consciousness of the local community towards protecting the lake.

In 2010 this creative process was awarded, first Ibero-American prize of the International Textile Network.
This work has not ended.  It continues looking to raise the energy of the planet through exhibitions in unusual public spaces, like parks, plazas, museums and commercial malls.

The Municipal Museum of Cartago, which used to be the penitentiary of the former capital of Costa Rica, and the Terra Mall of Tres Ríos are two of the spaces where I have exhibited recently, in 2011 and 2012.

Click here to see the pictures Ex votos 2012

Deeply popular:

Everyday-ness, that which is popular, as well as those things which are insignificant, what is found and then lost, what we consume and throw away…all these things form part of what has nurtured my latest art project, VOTIVE OFFERINGS.

Years of compiling found, offered or even unconsciously stolen objects; like the lighters, lost items that were never found… all these play a part in my new art works; which through the ordinary, bring us face to face with the sacred.  This is something that very much resonates with the spirit of the times.

…Art must be able to express society itself, the world in which we live.  The difficulty lies in remaining detached, from a society that needs to express itself in order to be understood.  Contemporary art is perturbing when it highlights our daily experience, because it transforms ordinary and familiar objects into objects of introspection.  Thus instead of ennobling reality, it subverts it.
Marc Augé

Gentiles used to give Votive offerings to their gods.

These offerings were deposited in sanctuaries or places of worship.  They could be small figurines representing people, animals, weapons, food.  Christian culture has used them throughout the generations.
The reason behind a votive offering is simply the constant giving of thanks for the miraculous.  Its aesthetic expression has the naïve quality usually found in the deeply popular.  Its proportions are not realistic, and frequently it represents the thing or person that has been favored.

EXVOTOS (Votive Offerings) is a series of symbols, an artwork developed with austere materials used in unconventional ways and combined with technical dexterity.  We can surely recognize these symbols with ease, as they relate to our everyday lives.  The opening of this work will be on the 21 and 22 of December 2012.  It will call on the expectorator to participate in a collective performance.  Each person will be invited to offer a candle or a red rose in thanks to Mother Earth; she who has given us so much.

What better place for this gathering than my studio in Tres Rios, in the garden that I have lovingly cared for and have worked in for many years.  It is also the home of my artwork ‘El Sexto Sol’ (‘The Sixth Sun’) which uses Water as a creative element and was inspired by the Seventh Mayan Prophecy, The Sixth Sun.

The 21st of December is the close of the Mayan Calendar and with it comes the hope of the birth of a new era on Earth.   With this event we join in a universal movement that has the intention of wellbeing for our Pachamama.
With this art project, I once more enlist myself in a weaponless army.  An army comprised of warriors that believe in a world of peace.  Angels without wings that fly through skies of hope and believe in the magic that only art can bring.  Without armaments they help us enter into contemplation, God’s will for us as beings of the Universe.

Click here to see the pictures Ex votos 2012

…Cali Rivera is one of the most refined artists of the Costarican cultural milieu, because he makes an intimate display of his life and painting and offers them as public communion.  His constant experimentation is so attractive, that it turns him into a hyperactive artist who frequently changes his ideas as he reinvents himself as creative entity.
He is one of few ecological painters.  It can be said that he risks taking his art to extremes.  From conventional painting, in his beginnings, to most audacious forms of expression that put him in touch with the masses through diverse activities, where his art can be seen, lived and appropriated by the spectators.
In his art there is something of the cosmic, beyond the traditionally religious.  He makes his own, the Elements that maintain life on our planet: air, fire, earth, water plus the spiritual element that gives meaning to his work.  
He also expresses himself through words, such as ‘Manifesto’.  These words are live elements, and they show us an artist that owns his work. They help us to penetrate his colorful universe, full of active symbols that attest to an intellectual construction that is defined in the moment.
“La Prensa Libre” March 5, 2009   Alfonso Chase

Mixed media artist, creator in 2003 of the allegorical banners of  ‘Carta de la Tierra’,  globalization flags on 2004 for the Ecological World Symposium, the Corpus Christi flags in 2009.  1st Iberoamerican prize winner of the International Textile Network in 2010.


  • Prayer for the Planet 2011
  • Municipal Museum of Cartago, retrospective installation, throughout entire museum.
  • Group Show Zentica, Japan-Costa Rica exchange. Salón del Cuño, MAC, 2010
  • 1st Iberoamerican prize winner of the International Textile Network in 2010. Group show in the Centro Cultural Norteamericano.
  • 2009 September “LA CRUZ DE SAN PEDRO” One person show.
  • INSTALLATIONS – San Carlos University
  • Guatemala USAC- School of Architecture
  • An appeal to humanity to preserve wildlife of Atitlán Lake, Natural Heritage of Guatemala.
  • July – August 2006, group show.
  • BITACORA / Association Culturelle Rousselande.  Les Rousses, JURA, France.
  • March 2006 FIA one person show, ‘BANDERAS DE ORACION’ (‘PRAYER FLAGS’) Boulevard de Las Artes, X International Art Festival. San José, Costa Rica
  • October 2005 group show ‘DESPUES DE 60 LUNAS’ (‘AFTER 60 MOONS’), San José Gallery, Okayama, Japan.
  • November 2004 Visual Arts Fusion Festival.  Casa de los Tres Mundos, (House of the 3 Worlds).  Granada, Nicaragua  17th Nov – 17 Dec
  • August 2004 ARTESSS COSTA RIC’ART.  Group show, Paris, France.
  • February 2004 – one person show, VARIOUS INSTALLATIONS. ‘GLOBALIZACIÓN’ (‘GLOBALIZATION’) OPENING. (installation comprising five flags, one per continent) XXVI WORLD  ECOLOGICAL SYMPOSIUM, SEA TURTLE SYMPOSIUM XXVI
  • March 2003 National Gallery presents ‘Prayer Flags’.  One person show (INSTALLATION) First itinerant art show for parks and plazas in Costa Rica.   Nine 6 meter long flags.  INSTALLED ON 9 meter LONG METALLIC STRUCTURES. PARQUE MÉJICO – PLAZA ROOSEVELT – PARQUE DE LA PAZ – (Air as creative element) ARTWORK FORMING PART OF THE PRO-TIBETAN CULTURE WORLD MOVEMENT.

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