Rey Paz Contreras was born August 31, 1950. He is an outstanding Filipino sculptor working with urban refuse and ecological materials as artistic media. He is encouraged by the native Filipino traditions and creates visual forms of current images that discover a distinct Filipino aesthetics. Contreras’ pioneered the exercise of travieza or hardwood railroad tracks through the late 70s.
An activist during the oppressive Marcos government, Contreras use his art as a form of agency. Using local and available resources, he critics the local artists’ reliance on foreign art, not only in media but also in idea and outline. Refusal of the western cultural supremacy as type of anti-colonial, anti-fascist reaction and was part of the broader Social Realism art association in the Philippines.
Various art organizations and cultural organizations since the early 1990s have recognized Contreras’ significant contribution to the development of contemporary Filipino/Philippine art. He was conferred the impressive Patnubay ng Lahi Award by the City of Manila in 1992. That year also, he was awarded the Grand Prize at the Art Association of the Philippines Annual Art Competition – Sculpture Category. In 1994, he was the receiver of the 1st Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. Public Art Competition, his sculptural memorial entitled The Trees is the first enduring structure unveiled at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Metro Manila. Work of art of Contreras made a permanent collection in the National Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines, GSIS Museo ng Sining, GMA Network and BAFI. He has conducted sculptural education seminar in the regions and has been invited to display in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the US.
He presently has his studio close to the railroad tracks in Tondo, Manila, where he conducts his community-based art preparation to endorse a socially receptive “people’s art” that has developed into the Daambakal Sculptors Collective.