With his signature “Ohlala” character, Reen Barrera creates both mixed-media paintings and windable toys. The figure moves between cutesy and menacing iterations, appearing both hardened and crudely decorated. In the moving wooden sculptures, the deceptively simple actions show ingenuity from the artist.
“In some artworks, I discreetly take on socio economic classes,” the artist has said. “Some people are born rich, mid class, some are poor. But the common ground is, everybody will have no choice but to deal with it. So I cover all their heads with a canvas cloth to give OhLala a freedom to paint their own symbols on their heads as if they are designing their own fate. And I guess that is what we all have in common, the power to make things happen for ourselves.”
See more of Barrera’s work below.