Ray Albano

Bio

    Ray Albano, whose full name was Raymundo, was born to Pastor Albano and Alejandra Ridad on January 27, 1947 in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. He went to San Sebastian in Mendiola for high school and wrote for the school paper. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree major in English Literature at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1968, during which period he became an active contributor to Heights, the university’s literary journal. For his exemplary literary practice, Albano received the John Mulry Literary Award for Literary Excellence from the Ateneo in 1968.

    Albano first worked at the Cultural Center of the Philippines around 1969. Aside from curating various spaces, he designed posters for the numerous offerings of the Center, including the productions of Bulwagang Gantimpala, for which he also did set and light design. He was a recipient of the Center’s Thirteen Artists grant in 1970. In 1977, he received a fellowship as Artist-in-Residence under the Fulbright- Hays Fund International Exchange of Scholars at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA. A reminder of that sojourn in America was the work The Grid Escape a poignant 13-page fable or parable of struggle with the modernist grid, handwritten on translucent paper.

    In 1980, Albano instituted a bimonthly art publication, the Philippine Art Supplement, which gathered artists, critics, and commentators to write about the then developing contemporary art scene of the Philippines, including issues on photography, installation, and art education, to name a few. He also conducted summer art workshops and founded a photography club for the Center’s employees. In the same year, he curated the Philippine representation for Festival: Contemporary Asian Art Show at the Fukuoka Art Museum, working with a spectrum of artists from Ang Kiukok to Junyee. He also represented the Philippines at the conference of the said Fukuoka exhibition and at the Munich summer festival. He participated in the ASEAN exhibition of Painting and Photography in 1983 and the Biennale de Paris in 1982. He was a juror at the 1983 second Asian Arts Festival in Bangladesh.

    As a curator, Albano’s efforts were vital in the development of experimental tendencies at the Center and in the local art scene in general. In 1979, on the Center’s 10th anniversary, he curated the exhibition A Decade of Developmental Art. It was an exhibitionary argument on what Albano called “developmental art,” a term he would explore further in his tenure at the Center. As he explains, “developmental” was “an operative word given by our government and press to government projects for fast implementation. Activities that had the nature of being under fast-action plans. The building of roads, population control, or the establishment of security units for instance, have to be done quickly, within a period of days.” For Albano, the developmental was a “powerful curatorial stance” as it “took the risk in establishing an attitude that prepared the public towards a more relevant way of seeing.” 

    During his term at the CCP, the visual arts program was active. From an early phase of initiating museum visitors to artworks without any explanation,
    his curatorial direction moved towards audience development, effecting an educational turn in the Center’s programming through thoughtful press releases, for instance. He also convened the CCP Annual, providing “a visual forum for contemporary artists,” regardless of aesthetic persuasion.

    —Excerpt from “Ray Albano: Aleator” by Patrick D. Flores

Ray Albano, whose full name was Raymundo, was born to Pastor Albano and Alejandra Ridad on January 27, 1947 in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte. He went to San Sebastian in Mendiola for high school and wrote for the school paper. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree major in English Literature at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1968, during which period he became an active contributor to Heights, the university’s literary journal. For his exemplary literary practice, Albano received the John Mulry Literary Award for Literary Excellence from the Ateneo in 1968.

Albano first worked at the Cultural Center of the Philippines around 1969. Aside from curating various spaces, he designed posters for the numerous offerings of the Center, including the productions of Bulwagang Gantimpala, for which he also did set and light design. He was a recipient of the Center’s Thirteen Artists grant in 1970. In 1977, he received a fellowship as Artist-in-Residence under the Fulbright- Hays Fund International Exchange of Scholars at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA. A reminder of that sojourn in America was the work The Grid Escape a poignant 13-page fable or parable of struggle with the modernist grid, handwritten on translucent paper.

In 1980, Albano instituted a bimonthly art publication, the Philippine Art Supplement, which gathered artists, critics, and commentators to write about the then developing contemporary art scene of the Philippines, including issues on photography, installation, and art education, to name a few. He also conducted summer art workshops and founded a photography club for the Center’s employees. In the same year, he curated the Philippine representation for Festival: Contemporary Asian Art Show at the Fukuoka Art Museum, working with a spectrum of artists from Ang Kiukok to Junyee. He also represented the Philippines at the conference of the said Fukuoka exhibition and at the Munich summer festival. He participated in the ASEAN exhibition of Painting and Photography in 1983 and the Biennale de Paris in 1982. He was a juror at the 1983 second Asian Arts Festival in Bangladesh.

As a curator, Albano’s efforts were vital in the development of experimental tendencies at the Center and in the local art scene in general. In 1979, on the Center’s 10th anniversary, he curated the exhibition A Decade of Developmental Art. It was an exhibitionary argument on what Albano called “developmental art,” a term he would explore further in his tenure at the Center. As he explains, “developmental” was “an operative word given by our government and press to government projects for fast implementation. Activities that had the nature of being under fast-action plans. The building of roads, population control, or the establishment of security units for instance, have to be done quickly, within a period of days.” For Albano, the developmental was a “powerful curatorial stance” as it “took the risk in establishing an attitude that prepared the public towards a more relevant way of seeing.” 

During his term at the CCP, the visual arts program was active. From an early phase of initiating museum visitors to artworks without any explanation,
his curatorial direction moved towards audience development, effecting an educational turn in the Center’s programming through thoughtful press releases, for instance. He also convened the CCP Annual, providing “a visual forum for contemporary artists,” regardless of aesthetic persuasion.

—Excerpt from “Ray Albano: Aleator” by Patrick D. Flores

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