Why Scary Masks?

In the 1990’s, an outsider requested a mask with a macaw and a “little Indian face” and so the modern ecological mask was born! With this new creative impulse, masks and the Borucan culture gained attention outside the village. Artists became more aware and empowered to care for their natural environment. Mask makers became leaders in preserving their language as they dug deeper into their unique history and tradition for sources of inspiration.

The continuity of the rainforest mask exhibits of at Selby Garden (since 2004) has offered fertile ground for creativity to flow and for this art to reach new levels. With this partnership, the modern masks keep evolving thanks to new admirers and influences from Sarasota and around the world. We hope you enjoy this beautiful cultural exchange between the Sarasota community and the Borucan artists.

For the next few days, Boruca becomes a different place. It is a time to meet with our friends, local and foreign. Only young men over the age of 16 are allowed to play in this rough game, while women help make costumes and prepare traditional foods. At night we all celebrate and dance -- and you’re welcome to join us.

The festivities end on January 2nd with the “killing” and burning of the bull -- and the whole town rises in euphoria! This is when we are grateful that our culture has been reborn for yet another year and we are still here. This celebration has given us the power to say we are the Brunka and still alive five hundred years later.