Renz Baluyot (b. 1989, Saudi Arabia) explores socio-political narratives that centre on urban decay. His works illustrate the disintegration of the environment and society as effects of imposed oppressive political and economic power. In portraying these issues, Baluyot examines the people’s reception to these subtle but punitive atrocities as we become observers of our own realities. Baluyot’s paintings are often drawn from photographs that the artist took while visiting different locations and resources that reference images from museum and institutional archives on subjects that discuss migrations, wars, territorial conflicts, colonization, among others. In his solo exhibition By Sword and Fire (2017) at the Vargas Museum (Quezon City, Philippines), Baluyot presented works that re-assessed the Japanese and American occupation of Southeast Asia during World War II. With records and materials from the Jorge B. Vargas archives, Baluyot inquired on the participation of an individual in claiming parts of history that he was absent from.
Baluyot received his BFA from the University of the Philippines, Diliman and completed artist residencies at the Bellas Artes Projects (Bataan, Philippines), and was selected for a fellowship grant at the Vermont Studio Centre (USA). In 2019, he was one of the artists presented at the exhibition Living Earth: Contemporary Philippine Art, curated by Luca Beatrice and Patrick Flores in Milan, Italy.
He won the Juror’s Choice Award of Merit at the 25th Philippine Art Awards (2020). He was recently named one of the finalists at the Ateneo Art Awards – Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art (2021) for his exhibition, Empire at West Gallery.
Photo by Rog Castillo II.