Juan Carlos Valdiviezo Ramirez (B.1981)
The Urban Shaman
Juan Carlos Valdiviezo Ramírez a.k.a. The Urban Shaman, was born in Machala, southernEcuador in 1981.
Raised in a rural area, with a tropical climate full of a rich biodiversity and indigenous traditions, JuanCarlos learned his ways from both the old and the new.
A strong sense of ancestral ties and modern society full of indigenous traditions and Western conventions forged a complicated mix of a slightly displaced character who can make as much of a home in the city streets or the jungle.
JuanCa´s fascination with ancient pre-hispanic art and his sense of integrity and responsibility for his role as an artist (and what this means in contemporary society) all builds on top of a profound depth of culture. An inquiring mind and conviction in his practise make for a diverse range of works.
Unafraid to shy away from the basic elements of humanity, JuanCarlos often confronts topics such as sexuality and violence. He will often place relief sculptures on the city walls (such as Street Venus) that leave the viewer questioning how they were placed there. These sculptures themselves have taken on a mythological quality of their own, with local tour guides presenting varied interpretations that often refer to the occult to large groups. The Urban Shaman will sometimes observe this phenomena from the outside with a gentle shake of his head and wry smile. (An amusing tale of how one of these street sculptures came to be officially registered and now historically preserved by the City of Barcelona can be recounted by the artist.)
Many of his urban interventions are intended to help bring about a gentler society. They function as charms, totems, gargoyles or talismen that engage curious viewers and increase understanding between different elements of society or help neutralise negative energies such as toxic masculinity. These are spiritual works that are not attached to anyone religion, but are universal.
Juan Carlos began his professional training in Barcelona, at the School of Applied Arts often referred to as La Llotja (amongst other alumni include Picasso), where he gained a Higher Degree in sculpture. Since then he has exhibited his works across Catalunya and in Switzerland.