Papago Legend

The Butterfly Farm, Costa Rica
Artist:  Wendy Bell

Mural Title:  Papago Legend

The Butterfly Farm, Costa RicaThe sheer beauty of many butterflies is explained in a legend of the Papago of what is now southern United Staes and the Sonora province of Mexico.  According to this myth, the Creator felt sorry for the children when he realized that their destiny was to grow old and become wrinkled, fat, blind, weak etc. So he gathered beautiful colors from various sources such as trees, flowers, sunlight, and the sky and put them into a magical bag and gave it to the children. When the children opened it, colored butterflies flew out, enchanting the children who had never seen anything so beautiful. The butterflies were also able to sing which further delighted the children. The songbirds, however, complained to the Creator because they were jealous that butterflies were both so beautiful and could sing like birds. Hence, the Creator withdrew the ability to sing from butterflies, and since then butterflies are beautifully colored but are now silent.

The Butterfly Farm, Costa RicaNotes on the design of the mural - the myth's elements are all illustrated in the painting. The colors are swirled out of nature to the left and downwards and enter the magical bag. The children surround the bag and watch the colorful butterflies come out of the bag - initially with song (the small gray musical notes), but as they fly off to the right, the notes have disappeared, indicating the loss of the ability to sing. The birds in the tree to the right are happily singing - indicated by the black musical notes.


The Butterfly Farm, Costa RicaI selected this story about butterflies and designed this mural in dedication to my friend Leo who shared his delight with me during that last five of his thirteen years.  I have a magical bag of memories of our times together, of the sparkle in his eyes, his sense of humor, sensitivity, intelligence and zest. How fortunate I am to have had such a cool godson, even for a short while. Viele Liebe Grüße, Wendy.

Wendy was a guest artist from Germany who participated in an artist exchange program arranged between the sister cities of Sayn, Germany and Alajuela, Costa Rica. 


Murals of La Guácima