Born in Paris, France, in 1990, Filipino artist Reen Barrera as a kid didn’t have a lot of toys growing up in the Philippines & he vaguely remembers owning two or three pieces of action figures and bored of doing nothing at home, he started making his own toys using found objects not knowing that he is starting to become an artist. He took art classes in high school and attended college studying Fine arts major in advertising before becoming a full-time artist in 2014, his professional work consisted of sculpting bobble head portraits, graphic design and illustrations.
Inspired by his “toy deprived” childhood, Reen repurposes found materials into mixed media figurative sculptures and paintings. The facial expressions and symbols and patterns in the artist’s Ohlala characters are drawn from the idiom “it’s written all over your face” and represent the power individuals have in designing their own fate. Barrera’s work provides a provocative conversation on the challenges of socio-economic circumstances and classism.