The Artist is Present: Ronson Culibrina Reflects on Two Years of Creating Art in a Crisis - Lifestyle Asia

“I’ve accepted this current situation as an opportunity to grow and learn new skills.”

According to artist Ronson Culibrina, life has not been much different during COVID-19. “I am used to being confined at home as an artist. The lockdown was not a big adjustment,” he says.

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He adds that he spends his days mostly hustling around his studio, and enjoying the gifts of fatherhood. “I can spend some time with my family, especially my daughter. Being able to see all her milestones while working is a blessing,” Culibrina says.

In terms of finding inspiration, he mentions a well-quoted maxim by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “Change is the only constant thing in the world.”

Spending his days practicing his art, Culibrina is always aware of what is happening around him. “When the pandemic hit, it didn’t do much in crippling my productivity. I’ve accepted this current situation as an opportunity to grow and learn new skills.”

Spring cleaning

If the rest of us were hit by the de-cluttering urge during all these months spent at home, it was much the same for Culibrina. Organizing his studio allowed him more time and realization to revisit past and unfinished works.

“Revisiting these past works that I did years ago gave me the idea to review them and make commentaries based on the current situation, adding popular images that reference the present,” he says.

With the subsequent lockdowns giving Culibrina a more focused environment, he says it gave him a purpose to rethink his approach to art. “I had more time to explore other materials, to experiment, study and improve what I already knew about art-making,” he says.

Culibrina is also part of The Working Animals Art Project, a collaborative group of young, diverse artists founded by fellow artist Ruel Caasi. “The group is a big support for us in the process of making decisions and ideas,” he says.

Wide perspective

In five years, Culibrina says that while we live in a post-pandemic world, he is looking forward to seeing himself and his art reaching a much wider audience, and having a broader understanding of his practice.

He would also like to have more opportunities to produce and collaborate with local and international artists.

An artist whose work has always been about sociopolitical concerns relating to current events, there has been a lot to mine from real life over the last two years.

“My art reflects my observations and the environment,” says Culibrina, adding that for him, “art is a platform that we can use to voice out and express our diversity and how we see things differently through our perspective.”

Photos by DJ MAGBANUA

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