An icon of the Costa Rican art scene, Otto Apuy’s paintings and multi-media work have marked him out as a Renaissance man of art in the Central America country. He takes inspiration from both his own youth, and the various cultural and social influences which permeate Costa Rican society.
Painting chicken talons to watch the colorful designs appear in his backyard was perhaps the first hint that Otto Apuy was destined to become an artist; or perhaps it was at the age of 12, when Otto designed and painted advertising posters for the first movie theater in Cañas. Considered a rebel by his parents and teachers, Apuy created monotypes by stamping the walls with painted objects, and experimented in his drawings using different fruits on other species of trees. The reprimands for his unruly behavior only made his determination stronger.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Fast-forward 55 years and you have the Otto Apuy of 2015: an avid explorer of visual arts and poetry, whose prolific journey has shaped both the man himself and the advancement of art in Costa Rica. Apuy is known as ‘the favorite son’ of Cañas, his birthplace, where his artistic work with ceramic tiles and cast iron covers the exterior of their Catholic church.
In the mid-1970s, to confront movements in avant garde, he moved to Barcelona, Spain, where in the first two months he was exhibiting his art at the Picasso Gallery; and where he published his first book, Diabolica, in 1979.
Returning to Costa Rica in 1985, Apuy found his roots and conceptual plantation, and became a pioneer of multimedia art. ‘Contemporary art changes with each generation’, says Apuy, ‘and at that time, artists began to emerge from the new school of arts. For the first time, we had many artists from outside Costa Rica, which created strong influences’.
Much of Apuy’s art echoes his viewpoint on the historical climate with political and environmental themes, such as his ‘mesa’ series (depicting broken or empty tables) to reflect upon the economic crisis in Costa Rica during the 1980s, when families struggled to keep food on their tables. His installation, Unity for Guanacaste is a call to two local communities to reunite with the province of Guanacaste.
Challenged to live his life as a multimedia artist, Apuy has been inspired by his own creativity, its gratification, and diversity. When asked to provide a small sculpture for his hometown church in Cañas, Costa Rica, his artistic nature consumed him. More than a million pieces of mosaic tiles now cover the exterior of the Iglesia de Cañas and its 100 ft tower. What began as a small project to create something in the front of the church inspired artist Otto Apuy to donate his time to design, develop and install this unique artistic transformation to his hometown of Cañas. It has become one of the most famous permanent art installations in Costa Rica, including a restoration of the monument to Costa Rican Monseñor Luis Leipold.
Otto Apuy has had more than 100 exhibitions, both individual and collective, around the world, and has received numerous awards, including Costa Rica’s National Prize, Gran Premio Biennial of Sculpture, and Bienarte Central America.
By The Hidden Art Gallery Staff
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.