When I first began to travel solo, my journeys were destination oriented. Over time and over countless road trips in Japan, swaying train rides in India, and horrifying ferry voyages in the Philippines, I grew more interested in the people and the objects of every day life. This is when I discovered that my art making and travel have many similarities. Both encompass an exploration of self and are greatly affected by chance. I have little interest in staging a photo, but act more as a quiet observer. I wait for the world to show me its wrinkles, bruises, and blemishes. I engage people with whom I cannot communicate with through a common language. And I open my heart to all people and places, so that I uncover the majestic qualities of this earth. With strong composition and simple subject matter, I take foreign imagery and make it relatable. My art is humanity.
Born in the United States with Costa Rican parents, Maria Chaverri grew up in a household that was not entirely one or the other. Her multicultural upbringing, speaking Spanish with family, English with classmates, and traveling across the international borders between her two homes generated her interest in travel from a young age. Travel was never a choice, but an accepted and cherished part of life. Never fully an Okie, an American, nor a Costa Rican, travel became a means to the discovery of self.
Her journey as an artist took hold at the Maryland Institute College of Art where she earned her BFA in Fiber Arts and a Masters in Professional Studies in the Business of Art and Design. For five years, from 2013 to 2018, she lived in Japan and explored Southeast Asia solo. Her most memorable stories come from volunteering at Kuro Coffee Shop in Sakaiminato, Japan. The regulars at Kuro, who were primarily local grandpas, or Ojiichans, were eager to practice their English, teach the local dialect, and learn about the foreigner in their tiny city. Chaverri, engulfed by her new family, turned to
photography and writing to capture their fascinating stories and share her own adventures. Now that she has returned to Oklahoma, she works to capture the fascinating and forgotten stories of the people and places in Oklahoma.