Reen Barrera: the Filipino artist launches his doll-like Ohlala characters as NFTs
2 min read · 12 Jun 2023
Reen Barrera, Ohlala. Copyright the artist, courtesy of Thinkspace Projects
Reen Barrera is on the HENI News radar after the Filipino artist launched his Pop meets folk art “Ohlala” characters as NFTs.
Reen Barrera’s HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment—has soared 178% with the drop of the "House of Ohlala" collection, his debut NFT collection.
Born in 1990, Barrera grew up in France. His paintings and sculptures of doll-like characters are based on the toys he created for himself as a child from scraps of fabric and wood. Called “Ohlala”, the name is based on the French expression of surprise "oh là là!".
A solo show of the artist's paintings and sculptures is due to open at Thinkspace Projects, Los Angeles, in July. His LA-based dealer sells canvases for around $3,200 while small, wooden doll-like sculptures sell for around $700 to $1,700. The artist’s works are untested at auction.
Gabrielle “Gaby” Dela Merced is a fan. The Filipina Formula Three racing driver and model is the founder of Manila-based Vinyl On Vinyl gallery, which organized a solo show of the artist’s work, including a monumental version of an Ohlala sculpture, in 2022. The gallery also presented the artist’s work at its booth at Art Jakarta in 2022.
A pair of large-scale Ohlala figures, seemingly joined at the hip, were shown by the Pintô Art Museum, a private museum founded by the Filipino collector and neurologist Joven Cuanang in an historic building near Manila.
The symbols that cover Ohlala figure’s happy or sad faces, refer to Manila’s street life. They are inspired by the phrase that someone’s life experience is “written all over their face”, the artist told Vogue Philippines. Some of his sculptures have articulated joints, emphasising their doll-like character. The artist has also created a canine side-kick called Duge.
“The House of Ohlala” collection was dropped via the GCrypto NFT Hub, GCash's platform for promoting Filipino creatives.
To get a deeper understanding of Reen Barrera’s career visit his HENI Dashboard; a unique graphical data tool illustrating an artist’s auction sales, shows, profiles, mentions and their HENI Score. You can search for any one of the 100,000 Artist Dashboards to quickly appreciate their trajectory as well as sharing via email, text and WhatsApp.