Arabel Lebrusan, also known as Rosillo de Blas, is a visual artist whose sculpture, jewellery and site-specific interventions function as social commentary. Focusing her lens on material culture and the ‘feminine’ tactile environment, she investigates wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality.
Her extensive background in jewellery design, sustainable manufacturing and craftsmanship sets her in strong stead to explore associations between extraction of natural resources (like diamond- and gold-mining) and broader, related issues of power, exploitation and material wealth. She has campaigned extensively to make the jewellery world one that is more sustainable, and has been awarded numerous accolades for her pioneering work in this field. Her TEDx talk on ethical jewellery was a significant milestone in her campaigning career; an opportunity to project her voice far and wide.
Whilst the art works of her early career explored themes of material culture, traditional maternal archetypes, religious stereotypes, and her inner-self, her more recent works use this same material culture as a springboard to investigate universal problems on a much broader scale. She is particularly interested in the psycho-social and physical experiences of the home and the objects contained therein. She often exploits the accepted, inherited meanings of ‘domestic’ objects like soap, hair, knives, jewellery and crockery. She employs craft techniques and processes that transform materials, mine collective memories and establish new narratives that engage her audience and open up conversations.
Some of her site-specific, large-scale installations are created via collaborative process, rooted in socially-engaged practice. The places and people involved in each project become the very context; the exchange of knowledge and skills intrinsic to the work.
“El Rosario de la Abuela”. Performance/Exhibition. Collaboration with Olga Parra Benavides. 2004. Lunâ Art Collective Gallery.
Cebu city. The Philippines.