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Emmanuel Garibay "Eden" - Oil on Canvas, 72 x 72 inches, 2021


Oil on Canvas

72 x 72 inches


In this staggering work that delivers a jolt to the senses, the viewer encounters the pandemic as never before told in a painting. This is the Eden not of beginnings but of endings, in which death in its many forms is omnipresent, people are brought to chaos as certainties wobble and disappear, and institutions are at a loss as to how to provide even the smallest of comforts. Clad in a lab gown with a skull for a face, the central figure struts into the scene haughtily, indeterminately plucking out human life, gleeful from all the commotion that ensues. Other ghostlike figures haunt the dejected scenery with its crumbling edifices as nature, undisturbed this time, sprouts its wild tendrils. Santo Entiero laterally cuts the hierarchical perspective, offering no solace. With nothing ever rooted, ordinary people crowd the painting, with no hope for an answer. For instance, a woman holds her household icon aloft as if shielding herself from what it is to transpire. Even the government, represented by symbol of the Malacañang Palace, has lost its bearing, sucked into a vortex. A disconcerting fever dream that visualizes the pandemic as the End of Times, Eden is Emmanuel Garibay’s sprawling chronicle of what has brought to the world to its knees.

About the artist

One of the foremost artists working today, Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay has always had his pulse on the Filipino experience—from its common, everyday struggles to its dark and complex sprawl of history. His visual idiom, while embodying the compulsions of expressive figuration, is uniquely his, showcasing his recognizable long-limbed figures, his hierarchical use of scale, and his vibrant and lyrical color palette. His social realist bent is no doubt nurtured by his days in Salingpusa—a group of firebrand students from the UP College of Fine Arts who believed that the artist’s role is deeply imbricated in society. A master of compression of pictorial and narrative space, Garibay’s approach foregrounds the protagonists of his works to ultimately tell a story: the quotidian affairs of the common folk, the centrality of basketball and Christianity in the Filipino psyche, the unfinished saga of the nation in search of itself.