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Ramírez at an exhibition of his work in 2019. Ramírez at an exhibition of his work in 2019.

Renowned sculptor gained international fame for his work in snow and ice

Abel Ramírez, who also had a distinguished career working with bronze, stone and wood, died on Monday

An acclaimed sculptor who represented Mexico on the international stage at numerous ice and snow sculpture competitions passed away this week at the age of 78.

Abel Ramírez Aguilar, born in Mexico City in 1943, died on Monday, the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL) said in a statement.

Ramírez, profiled in Mexico News Daily earlier this year, had a long and distinguished career working with bronze, stone and wood but will be best remembered internationally for his skill at sculpting ice and snow.

During a 20-year career, he competed in ice and snow sculpture events in various parts of North America, Europe and Asia.

His love of art, and the medium of sculpture in particular, began at an early age.

Pueblito Azul, an ice sculpture by Abel Ramírez.
Pueblito Azul, an ice sculpture by Abel Ramírez.

Ramírez began studying at INBAL’s School of Artistic Initiation No. 2 in Mexico City while still in the third grade at primary school. A couple of years later, a teacher introduced him to clay, an event that played a “defining” role in his future, INBAL said.

At the age of 15, Ramírez began studying at the prestigious National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking, known as La Esmeralda, in Mexico City and also completed courses at the School of Design and Crafts, which is today the INBAL Design School.

The sculptor later won a Dutch government scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, which he attended from 1979 to 1981.

“… Abel Ramírez considered himself a neo-figurative sculptor with cubist and surrealist influences within a magic and cosmological world nourished by pre-Hispanic creations,” INBAL said. “Arte popular [Mexican folk art] also played an important role in his work.”

The institute noted that Ramírez represented Mexico at more than 40 wood, stone, metal, snow and ice events and competitions in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, the United States, Japan, Colombia, Argentina, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Bangladesh, Cuba and Germany.

His work was also exhibited extensively in Mexico, including at a 2019 retrospective which included more than 30 pieces.

He was a member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana, an institution dedicated to the promotion of Mexican art, and received a prestigious national award for his oeuvre from the Ministry of Public Education. Ramírez also taught at La Esmeralda for more than 30 years.

“The National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking ‘La Esmeralda’ … bids farewell with great sorrow our beloved teacher, sculptor and ceramist Abel Ramírez. R.I.P.,” the school said on Twitter.

Mexico News Daily 

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