Claro Jr. Ramirez
is a multimedia artist whose paintings, sculptures, photographs, sound works and mixed media installations have been exhibited in China, Japan, Bangladesh, Denmark, Poland and the United States. Ramirez is a former apprentice of the Philippines’ National Artist for Visual Arts Cesar Legaspi, and a graduate of the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas. Ramerirez has worked as a consultant for artistic direction of exhibitions and new media projects at several museums and international cultural institutes, including the Goethe-Institut. Ramirez recently curated the Sungdu-an National Visual Art Exhibition at the National Museum of the Philippines in 2009 and is now working on “Art Video Exchange at Smallprojects Troms” and the 14th Jakarta Biennale as well as on exhibitions at Finale Art File and Mo Space Gallery in the Philippines.
Ebb and FlowMy earliest close-up attempt to bring my art into conversation with riverscapes dates back to 13 years ago when fairly early civil initiatives (e.g. Riverwatch, Piso para sa Pasag [A Peso for the Pasig]) in riverine regeneration centred on Manila’s main water thoroughfare, the Pasig River with its tributaries running through several of the capital’s arrabales (Span.: suburbs). It was in keen recognition of this interdependence of water systems that I’d first hoped that Riverscapes IN FLUX, at least from the Philippines, could have a broader reach. My initial impulse for Riverscapes IN FLUX was thus to tap into the work of artists from three sites spanning the Philippines’s three main island groups (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) in an attempt to mitigate the way discourse and production opportunities continue to be centralized in the National Capital Region. Ultimately, with the work of Christina Poblador and Jon Romero, their artists’ projects instead come across from two differentiated sites, both traversed by bodies of water, demonstrating variable notions of ownership. In a sense, it is riverwatching as territorialization. Two rivers, two points of view. The artists from the Philippines, Poblador and Romero, bring their own nuanced sense of place to these projects. In the end, the hope is that these projects highlight these places as being more than expendable and merely there for the taking.