San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Art Walks

Tico photo series to debut at Sarajevo peace festival

A century ago, Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand at point blank range in downtown Sarajevo. The assassination precipitated World War I, which cost millions of lives, rearranged the political map and began a fearsome new era of “total war.”

To remember the centennial, Bosnia and Herzegovina is hosting the Sarajevo Peace Event, a citywide celebration of tranquility and culture. Most of us won’t be able to hop a plane to the Balkans, but six artists based in Costa Rica have done the next best thing: They have sent 30 photographs to Sarajevo to exhibit at the event, a series called “Ecosistemas de Paz.”

Conceived by Katherine Armstrong, Silvia Espinoza, and Vanessa Mendez, “Ecosistemas” includes a variety of images on the theme of peace, from street demonstrators to a surfer with “Todo Tuanis” (“It’s all good”) tattooed on his back. The series celebrates Costa Rica and its long history of avoiding major war.

“We pride ourselves in promoting the country’s track record of eradicating the army, seeding cultural diversity, setting an example for democracy, leading the way for biodiversity and educating for peace,” the organizers said in a statement.

The exhibit is among 180 workshops and 40 cultural activities taking place in Sarajevo, whose name is a name weighty with significance: Nicknamed “The Jerusalem of Europe,” the city both hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and endured a bitter three-year siege in the 1990s.

“Ecosistemas” will return to Costa Rica for public display this September.

Contact Robert Isenberg at

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