Private Collection, Singapore

Utterly Art, Different Tunes, Singapore, 2007


Emmanuel Garibay presents another symbolic visual narrative so potent in an evocative and uncanny manner. In Different Turns, Garibay depicts a central figure of a man wearing headphones and whose hands are seemingly in a prayer position. A jester playing the guitar sits atop his shoulders. Two figures sit beside the man, the one on the left side wearing an imperial crown symbolizing the state and the other wearing a miter crown representing the church. A religious icon can be seen hanging on the wall in the background. Garibay strongly alludes to a circus of power abuse between the two most influential parties in contemporary society: the church and the state. The artist critiques how these oppressive and coercive forces work concurrently in exploiting the people's current conditions through various cultural, religious, and political mechanisms. These instruments are employed to assert their hegemony over the people so they could be subservient disciples. Garibay is also critical of modern-day Christianity; how it has long been distant from its divine mandate of "tending His sheep" and instead has relegated itself to an ideological state apparatus by parroting fascist and authoritarian tenets. Garibay believes in the power of art to amplify the stifled cries of the oppressed. Thus, his works unrelentingly echo the words of educator and activist Cesar A. Cruz: “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” "I would rather have disturbed viewers than comfortable viewers because the disturbed ones are forced to think," a compelling statement expressed by the artist. (A.M.)