Would you trust a barber named Judith?
Emmanuel Garibay has cleverly put Judith in the role of the barber to an unsuspecting Holofernes – the fauchion replaced with a straight-edged razor. Silly Holofernes – who allows his vanity to let down his guard?
It is likely that this depiction of Judith and Holofernes is a commentary on “social realism” of the Filipino society – the milieu of the artist, Emmanuel Garibay. Ahighly sensitive and a keen observer of society, Garibay believes that art can be an effective medium for awakening consciousness. (1) Majoring in sociology allowed him to understand how personal lives are affected by one’s place in society and that events and experiences are part of social institutions and cultural meanings – influencing the subject matter in his art. Garibay says that, “it is the richness of the poor that I am drawn to and which I am part of that I want to impart in my art.” (2)
And thus he shows us Judith, a Malayo-Polynesian Filipino, with a knife to the neck of a Spanish or American Filipino. Not unlike the class struggles of aboriginal peoples to Western European conquest since Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And while I may not want to view myself in league with Holofernes, I am sure there was a mother back in Assyria who thought his imperialism was simply a way of being patriotic. And that a conquered woman would be honored to provide him with a celebratory close shave.
(1) “Recent Works” by Emmanuel Garibay, circuitmag, July 20, 2009