OLIVER ABE RAMOS
Oliver Abe Ramos started his carreer in art in a familiar way; upon completing a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Sto. Tomas, Oliver produced artworks that gained notice from staple institutions of great repute (Art Association of the Philippines, Metrobank Art and Design Competition, Philippine Art Awards, among others). His paintings frequented galleries, museums and art spaces in the metro and yet Oliver’s visibility in the art scene is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his art practice. Since starting out, Oliver has been fascinated by people, immersing himself in community work and interactions with the working class and underprivileged groups. This can be traced by his exposure to blue collar jobs as a palengke boy, being led to an understanding of the working class from the grassroots through his family’s migration from Southern Luzon to the over-populated district of Pasig. It is this history and utmost desire to understand the society that enriches Oliver’s paintings as he visually narrates phenomenological and ethnographic view of Filipino life. Besides this groundedness, Oliver’s pieces are also strongly inquisitive, almost always philosophical, as he wishes to capture and convey minute Vlashes of what could be the thin line between thought and emotion – a moment when people’s logical minds seem to be in a tug-of-war with sentimentality or vulnerability. Consistent to the powerful irony of Oliver’s thoughts and images, his current series, as if in a static vignette of cinema verite, documents the life of lower class workers that frequent the devastating tragedy of Manila traffic pedaling in their mostly over-used bicycles. This visual documentaries are never to be taken as vanity, but instead an actual theorization from ethnographic research; as expected from the artist with a consistently progressive track record, Oliver also moves around the metro in his two wheels, heavy traffic or not, rain or shine.