Pablo José Ramírez: Recipient of 2019 CPPC/ICI Travel Award

April 2, 2019

Image: Alberto Galvan

Pablo José Ramirez (b.1982 Xela, Guatemala) has been selected as the sixth recipient of the CPPC Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean. The award supports a contemporary art curator based anywhere in the world to travel to regions in Central America and the Caribbean to conduct research related to art and cultural activities, generating new collaborations with artists, curators, museums, and cultural centers within regional networks.

Starting this Spring, Pablo José Ramirez will travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Roatán Island in Honduras, Belize, and Livingston Island in Guatemala to learn about the history and culture of Garifuna. Ramirez’s investigative proposal exists in three parts: The construction of what is understood as ethnicity and race from the history of the Garifuna people and their visual and performative culture, the relationship between colonialism, creation and resilience, and the study of movement in which the nomadism between the Caribbean and Central America allowed certain encounters between Mesoamerican indigenous cultures and Hispanic mestizo cultures in the region.

Pablo José Ramirez’s proposal was selected between 76 applications from 32 different countries. The selection was made by a jury of professionals that includes: Mónica Espinel (Independent Curator and Writer, New York), Karen Grimson (Curatorial Assistant for the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Museum of Modern Art, New York), Julián Sánchez González (PhD student in Art History at Columbia University). In their selection, the jury considered the immediate and the long-term benefits and impact of each proposal for the places, institutions and artists visited, as well as projects that favor new understandings and readings of the artistic production of the region.

In selecting his research proposal the jury chair, Mónica Espinel stated: “Pablo José Ramirez presented a compelling proposal that seeks to reenact the voyages that led to the creation of mixed ancestry Garifuna enclaves in the Caribbean and Central America, including trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. We believe Ramirez’s desire to research the historical conditions and nomadism that led to the development of the Garifuna’s material culture and performance will bring much-needed attention to ethnic and racial considerations that resulted in the formation of present-day and traditional Garifuna culture.”

Pablo José Ramirez: is a curator, art writer and cultural theorist. He holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published extensively and has been member of different curatorial advisory boards and juries for institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC), Gasworks, The Visible Award, Teoretica, among others. Ramirez is the former Director of Ciudad de la Imaginación (2010-2014). Following that, he has been working as independent curator and researcher. Among his recent exhibitions are: This Might be a Place for Hummingbirds co-curator with Remco de Blaaij, Center for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (2014); The Party of Others: Terike Haapoja, Ciudad de la Imaginación, Guatemala (2014); Guatemala Después, co-curator Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Design, New York (2015); The Shores of the World: on communality and interlingual politics, Display, Prague (2018). In 2015 he co-curated with Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Anabella Acevedo and Rosina Cazali the19th Bienal de Arte Paiz: Trans-visible (Guatemala City, Guatemala). Ramirez is the founding artistic director of the curatorial journal Infrasonica, to be launched by the end of 2019. Currently Ramirez is working on a project for Tate Modern related to sound, deep listening and community, to be commissioned by Tate Exchange for 2020. His interests rely on questions of coloniality and translation, the relation indigeneity — contemporary art, non-human thought and sound as a political speculative experience.