Sa Ngalan ng Batas: Reflections on Philippine law, culture and society
04 October – 04 November 2014
3F South Wing Gallery
Like magic, the term “sa ngalan ng batas (in the name of the law)” opens doors, ends arguments, strikes fear, and instills discipline. Once uttered, the name of the law invokes the power of the institution: these proverbial walls that keep societies in line, distinguishing the citizen from the outsider. Ultimately, it separates the individual being from the participant in social life.
“No man is an island”—when the poet John Donne wrote these words, it was highly unlikely he was using them to refer to the tasks of administering peace and order that came with the formation of modern society, and yet peace and order are integral to coexistence, at a time where coexistence is non-negotiable.
Building on the realization that what is legal is not necessarily ethical, Garibay continues to pull at a thread that has consistently woven itself into his body of work, looking at icons, representation, and the stubborn role they play, for better or worse, in the fabric of society.In this series of oil on canvas works, Manny Garibay explores the limits of justice as both concept and system with a colorful cast of characters devoted to the bureaucracy of everyday life. Departing from the theory and jargon that have been used in discussing the law—from Aristotle to Agamben—only simple language is used inSa Ngalan ng Batas.
With a catalogue of titles like “Enforcer”, “Kampante (Comfortable)”, “Lumang Larawan (Old Picture)”, and “Madasalin (Religious)”, he hints at the laymen’s terms that describe the small, seemingly harmless details which nonetheless complicate our realities as members of a just and democratic society. In the faces of these everyday people, we see how corruption can unfold in even the most banal tasks. (Alice Sarmiento)