Interviews | March 5, 2024 |

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

Interview: Ketsia Camacho Ramos
Luca Curci
 talks with Ketsia Camacho Ramos during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR – 18th Edition at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello in Venice.

Ketsia Camacho Ramos (Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, 1995) is a published author, interdisciplinary artist, founder of Editorial Casa Cuna, and resident artist of Taller Libertá since 2018, a collective art space/workshop located in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Their work is a transdisciplinary exploration of bodies, sexualities, spirituality, and political resistance within the generational healing of racism, gender violence, poverty, migration, and capitalist violence. Ketsia has published two books Aceite de Palo (2022) and Selección de poesía inedita (2019), among other anthologies and online literature initiatives. They have presented their work in the Caribbean, USA, Europe, and Central and South America with a decade-long artistic practice. Ketsia debuted their solo exhibit “doliere” in Casa Silvana (Humacao, PR) and Taller Libertá (Mayagüez, PR) in 2023. The most recent collective art exhibitions including Camacho-Ramos’ work during this year are “Nostalgia” (Artly Mix, São Paulo, Brasil), “Don’t Drag Me Down: Today’s Battle for Liberation” (Koehnline Museum of Art, Chicago IL), “Equilibrium” (Artly Mix, São Paulo, Brasil), “The Body Remembers” (international online juried exhibition), “Afro Cuir” (Pública Espacio, San Juan, PR), “Trenzando Identidades” (Museo Casa Escuté, Carolina, PR), “Afrosur” (Museo Histórico Ramón Rivera Bermúdez, Coamo, PR), and “Psiquis: Cease and Desist Art and Music Festival” (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, San Juan, PR, 2023).

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Ketsia Camacho Ramos – Currently, I’m exploring how the body is riddled with a plethora of identities and how processes of identity affirmation are influenced by cultural, societal political and psychological experiences. Simultaneously, I am researching how grief, memory, time, sexuality, and insanity are represented through archetypes that take form in the body and in our ideas of nudity.

LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
KCR – I began my artistic explorations via literature becoming a poet and an editor. Then, in an effort to give my work a corporeal form, I began to explore performance. I delved into the world of photography in 2016 focusing on street photography, photojournalism, portraiture and landscape. Influenced by both this practice and my work in cultural affairs, I transitioned to audiovisual mediums by creating experimental shorts and working in graphic design. My search for new artistic mediums becomes akin to learning a new language where I can discover creative possibilities, which is how I discovered painting, collage and other practices I work with today.

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?
KCR – #transdisciplinarie #doliere #reinaderuinas

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
KCR – I find inspiration in my own experiences, in collaborations and intertextualities with other artists and how these are symptoms of historical, economic, social, and cultural processes of our times.  My starting points are my body, Afro-Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean spiritual practices, nature, and historical events of resistance and liberation. In theoretical terms, I am deeply nourished by diverse literary theories, psychoanalysis, and philosophical schools of thought such as post-structuralism. More precisely, a great part of my works comes from the concept of language, both in how it shapes us and what it contains within itself, which is why poetry is, in some way or other, always present in my work.

LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artwork?
I would say my biggest challenge is that my art is inextricably tied to my own vulnerability. My works reflect the crudest parts of myself, which demands that I situate myself in said emotional and mental states. However, it requires that I be present and gentle. Acts which then compel me to meditate, take time to reflect, process emotions and traumas as well as exercise my memory.

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
I thought it was quite interesting to find an exhibition whose themes aligned so well with my body of work. I am not only inspired by the exhibition’s concept but also by the works of other artists. It is quite motivating to see such topics in all their creative possibilities and to be able to witness them in other mediums and techniques.

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
My mixed media painting “I am the shattered dream of my father” is a journey to a deeper understanding of bodies, sexuality, trauma, and healing. It creates a connection on how past experiences relate to our identities. This artwork invites us to imagine our bodies as a central axis of desire, hope, suffering, resistance, and love. The essence of the work is the space which redefines the borders. Within its mixture of photographs revealing a nude body and words appearing in deeper layers I bring to light hidden identities of religion, queerness, sexuality, and taboo. I experimented with the limits of each technique therein presented to represent and metaphorize the limits of the body and the challenge of finding rest, joy, and pleasure in these troubled times filled with blood and hate. Layers herein express how the body is entangled in language: as it unfolds it hides parts of itself, as stated by Borges in his metaphor of the hand fan and how it was akin to the history of eternity.

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
KCR – It is an innovative and useful platform for emerging artists as well as established ones.

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
KCR – Venice International Art Fair was well organized. ITSLIQUID Group maintained good communication and did a lovely curatorial job.

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Image courtesy of Ketsia Camacho Ramos

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