To artist Ling Quisumbing Ramilo, the most precious things in life are not necessarily the most expensive or the most extravagant possessions. More often than not, they are little things she finds around the old family home that rekindle memories of a loved one or a personal milestone. She highlights these cherished found objects in Best Before, her latest one-woman exhibit at West Gallery.
On view from February 16 through March 5, Best Before reflects Ramilo’s penchant for putting together objects whose primary functions have seemingly ceased, but kept for pure and priceless sentimental value. Even the wooden box casings that contain these objects are recycled from old cabinets or wood that used to be a part of the house. “All these works are evolving,” says Ramilo, as she finds more objects that were once dear to her parents, grandparents, and other family members. They are fragments of something very recognizable, she notes, as she tries to preserve and honor their memories through her works, which are perennially in progress. In a way, Ramilo also wants to surround herself with material reminders of what her world was like when she was younger, and what the world is like right now as she seeks ways to make sense of it all, to find meaning through the clues from her past.
Though the objects are very personal, Ramilo senses she’s not alone in the experience, and people may as well find them very familiar. Their parents may have held on to a few personal things from their eras, too. “Who is to say what is expired?” asks Ramilo, as she herself ponders, “Why do you hold on to things that you cannot use.”
The collection thus becomes a very visual yet intimate archive of shared history.