Ibo Bonilla Oconitrillo

El Obelisco Fi y Ibo Bonilla Oconitrillo courtesy of www.iboenweb.com
El Obelisco Fi y Ibo Bonilla Oconitrillo courtesy of www.iboenweb.com

Known for his diverse sculptures and extensive work in the field of architecture, Ibo Bonilla Oconitrillo has become one of the most influential Costa Rican artists working today.

When It All began

Bonilla was born in 1951 in the town of Sarchí, which is famed for its artistic heritage. In 1977, he became the first person in Costa Rica to graduate from a university with a degree in architecture, and shortly thereafter he became one of the first Central Americans to be licensed as an architect in Europe. In addition to his training as an architect, Bonilla has also earned degrees in management, quality evaluation and business administration from universities in Spain.

Using Materials

In the field of sculpture, Bonilla works to portray themes of tropical biodiversity, feelings, women and perception. The artist's sculptures are made with a wide variety of materials, including wood, stone, metal, clay, glass, quartz, resins, ceramics, iron, cement and even lava. Most of Bonilla's pieces are between three and six feet tall, and a great deal of his work has been displayed at exhibitions around Costa Rica and Spain.

Famous Sculptures

One of Bonilla's most famous sculptures is "El Obelisko Fi," a melted bronze statue. This piece earned the artist the National Prize of Architecture, which is awarded every two years by Costa Rica's School of Architects. Another well-known sculpture is "Cercanías" ("Nearby"), a 12.5-foot piece that currently sits in the sculpture park of the city of Barva. Bonilla also created "Naturaleza Asediada" ("Beseiged Nature"), a two-piece articulated lava sculpture currently on display at the Plaza de Cultura in the Costa Rican capital of San José, and "Amar y Brío," a pair of pieces made from diorite rock.

Bonilla's architectural work is centered around ideas of bioclimatology, the study of the interactions between people and the physical space around them. In addition to a wide variety of private residences, Bonilla has designed the Latin American Science and Technology University, Ibero American Hospital, the Central American headquarters of healthcare company Roche and more.

Currently, on top of his work in the field of sculpture, Bonilla works as a consultant for an engineering company. Additionally, he also operates his own architectural firm, continuing to design a wide variety of buildings and other structures throughout Costa Rica.