John Lennon Statue Unveiled in Costa Rica Capital San Jose
|Costa Rica John Lennon Statue|
San Jose Mayor Johnny Araya participated in the unveiling of a John Lennon statue in downtown Plaza Artigas this past Friday.
Hundreds attended the Costa Rica event in downtown's Plaza Artigas. The John Lennon statue, which was designed by Cuban sculptor Jose Ramon Villa, is titled ‘Imagine all the people living life in peace.’
Some challenged the sculpture because of Lennon’s 1966 statement that The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Opponents also voiced concern that the statue did not replicate a Costa Rican figure nor was it designed by a local artist.
That opposition was not evident at Friday night’s ceremony, which was preceded with a concert featuring Beatles songs.
The crowd equiped with camera phones and a handful of Lennon look-alikes surrounded the statue before its unveiling. San Jose Mayor Johnny Araya encouraged the crowd to continue supporting culture by taking advantage of public spaces.
“It’s been said a million times that a city without culture doesn’t have a soul,” Araya said. “We’re working to attract tourists to more than volcanoes and beaches but also to our capital. Now people can come here to have their photo taken with John Lennon whose message of peace identifies with our country.”
That’s the scene that unfolded over the weekend as hundreds of Ticos and tourists alike seized the photo opportunity. Youngsters curiously clamored over the statue as parents and grandparents smiled and flashed peace signs.
The statue was proposed a year and a half ago by Mauricio Vargas, who says he became a Beatles fan at the age of four. Vargas is active in Beatles clubs around the world and promotes Meet the Beatles, a twice weekly radio program broadcast by Radio U 101.9.
“I got a call last Wednesday from the mayor’s office telling me that the statue would be unveiled on Friday. It’s a good that they waited to tell me, I wouldn’t have been able to keep it to myself,” Vargas said. “Lennon was always outspoken and never said anything but peace and love.”
“Art and culture is what makes people better. Maybe next time it will be a statue of Fidel Gamboa,” said Vargas, referencing the recently-deceased lead singer of Costa Rican band MalPais. “The message of peace is the same no matter what country it comes from.”