Freelance photographer and occasional Tico Times contributor Lucas Iturriza is living the dream: He has traveled all over the world, and he takes pictures for a wide range of clients. Now in his early 40s, the Argentinean globetrotter has settled in Costa Rica, where he shoots pictures for an ongoing series called “Somos Todos Costa Rica” (“We Are All Costa Rica”).
This weekend, visitors can catch a glimpse of Iturriza’s work, a sample of “Somos” called “Somos Caribe Sur” (“We Are the Southern Caribbean”), presented by the Culture Ministry. As visitors to Costa Rica’s Caribbean are aware, the region is rich with culture, music, and fashion. Iturriza is a master of up-and-close-and-personal portraits, depicting a diverse range of Caribbean natives. (One photo depicts a young, beautiful, dark-skinned woman with a flower in her free-flowing hair. Another shows a shirtless man, likely Bribri, gazing pensively from the darkness).
“The initiative aims to document, publicize, and promote the advancement of the cultural diversity of our country,” said Iturriza in a statement, “as well as being a promoting agent of peaceful coexistence and respect for diversity.”
The unspoken theme is that the Caribbean is often perceived as a different from mainstream Costa Rica, and the relationships between Spanish Ticos, Afro-Caribbean descendants and the Bribri tribe have a long and heated history. Iturriza has been working on the series since 2010.
The event has conspicuous timing, noted Manuel Obregón, Costa Rica’s minister of culture, given that Dec. 10 is Human Rights Day, a global holiday.
“Diversity is a human element,” Obregón said in the same release. “To know who we are, and from whence we’ve come, is an essential step in our own understanding of identity or identities that make up our nation.”
The only downside to Iturriza’s exhibit is that it is so short-lived – it opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, and closes at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Such lovingly crafted work deserves a longer engagement, and we can only look forward to an encore.
“Somos Caribe Sur” will be on display Dec. 13-15. Carmen Naranjo Gallery, Old Atlantic Station, Barrio Carmen. Info: lucasiturriza.com/somos.html.