Photos by Mieke Leenders.
San Jose, Costa Rica, is alive with street art, sculptures, and monuments. Strolling through the city for perhaps the hundredth time, I was eager to explore some new perspectives. As I contorted and squatted to find new angles, the artworks and monuments seemed, on occasion, to interact with one another. The National Monument at the Parque Nacional commemorates the coalition of Central American armies’ victory over filibuster William Walker. However iconic the sculpture, it is perhaps more interesting when observed from below. Men with a brooding strength that can rival Michelangelo’s Hercules liberate themselves from the soils to reach for the monument, reminding me of the makeshift army of volunteers and recruits that helped ensure Walker’s defeat, successfully preventing the establishment of new slave states.
Mieke Leenders is a photographer, social justice advocate, journalist, short fiction author, and poet with a master’s degree in art history and certificates in teaching, vegan ambassadorship, and editing. Originally from Belgium, she set out on a solo backpacking trip which led her to put down temporary roots in Costa Rica. Mieke is passionate about travel, hiking, literature, animal rights, environmentalism, and art.