Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo received his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Currently he lives and works between Montreal and El Salvador.
He has shown extensively across Canada and internationally, most notably in venues such as The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The International Print Centre in New York and La Casa de las Americas National Gallery in Cuba among others.
He is the recipient of the Krasner- Pollock Foundation Grant in 2010 and various productions grants from the Canada Council for The Arts and le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec.
This project has been possible thanks to the generous support of:
24.10.2011 to 11.11.2011
Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo was born in El Salvador in 1978. During the civil war that spanned the country in the years' 80 he and his family emigrated to Canada where he studied arts.
The foundations of his work was strongly influenced by this experience of exile, which led him to seek a critical dialogue with the past, trying to portray through the use of different media-such as drawing, printmaking and video that attitude that Walter Benjamin described like "sifting the history", filter the facts with a critical eye from the present hopping that the history of loss and violence will not be forgotten but also not prevent us moving forward.
His work also reflects the historical cross-cultural between the indigenous and Christian iconographies, the pop and pre-Columbian culture in Latin America, resulting in a strong own artistic language.
Using drawing as a personal act of revision, my work depicts an allegorical narrative of historical, cultural and personal experience. My practice begins with the body as a symbol and site for trauma engaged with collective and personal memories of loss andviolence that marked El Salvador during the civil war in the 1980's, -a time which myfamily and I lived through and, as a result of which, immigrated to Canada.
I feel historically linked to these experiences and define my work as a critical dialogue with the past that is constantly being revised over time. My artistic approach is engaged with the possibilities of narrative using myth and memory as important roles to explore Latin American Mythology and popular folklore. Particularly popular art forms that amalgamate indigenous belief and storytelling with Christian ritual and iconography are expressions that inform my art practice today.
Similarly aspects of North American iconography derived from pop culture, such as graffiti and poster art have become significant frameworks that continue to lend an aesthetic and political dimension in my work pivotal for my visual rhetoric.
Using a personal lexicon of imagery that I’ve developed in my art practice over the years, the resulting mixed media drawings explore issues of collective memory, cultural identity and historical trauma.