Emmanuel Garibay, artist in residence at OMSC in 2010–11, was born in Kidapawan, North Cotabato, Philippines in 1962. He is known as much for his expressionist figurative style as for the content of many of his works, which often express a keen social and political consciousness (Social Realism). After graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in fine art, he studied European and Philippine masters on his own. His first exhibition was held in 1993, and he built on some of the recognition he received there by exhibiting and traveling more widely in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Garibay has said, “It is the richness of the poor that I am drawn to and which I am a part of, that I want to impart.” He often paints ordinary people in scenes of political, religious, and social complexity, where controversial issues of justice and truth are presented vigorously and colorfully.
During the mid-80s he was involved with a group called Artista Ng Bayan (People’s Artists). The vision of the group is consistently reflected in his artistic commitment to align himself with the marginal and the dispossessed. One can never fail to meet ordinary people in his paintings: the newsboy, the bus rider, the cigarette vendor, the tired woman activist, the glue sniffing boy—breathing souls struggling from the bottom of Philippine society. As Emmanuel (or Manny, as he prefers to be called) puts it, “It is the richness of the poor that I am drawn to and which I am a part of, that I want to impart.”
Manny’s work shows a stunning combination of social realism and avant-garde figurative expression, seriousness and humor, sharp social critique and humane character depiction. What is achieved through his carefully crafted work is an effective storytelling of people in scenes of social, political, and religious complexity. Some of his paintings are brimming with indigenous Filipino spirituality, one that is different from what he calls the “imposition” of Western Christendom.
Art is all about an idea that you want to share, a way of seeing the world that you want people to appreciate in their world.
— Emmanuel Garibay
He laments church’s “compliance with greed, corruption, and social inequality.” To express this critique, Jesus’ radicality and his presence with the poor are often contrasted with avowedly compromising clergy who have distanced themselves from the masses.
More information on Manny can be found in the OMSC monograph entitled Where God Is: The Paintings of Emmanuel Garibay, published in 2011 in a limited, signed, and numbered edition of 500 copies.