A two-person exhibition featuring the works of Bam Garibay and Roger Mond.
The collective consciousness of a country riddled with a tumultuous history is often colourful, with a light that can be illuminating and, at its worst, blinding. And yet as the light dies down we find that woven within the fraying fabric of our shared humanity are a multiplicity of people, whose actions—both as individuals and within their own intimate circles—come to influence the tides of history as they push and pull their way around our lives. It is particularly in times like these that the need for a more encompassing understanding of our place in society—of various upbringings, personal agendas, and the glaring truths of our self-interests—is encouraged. After all, it is only through a thorough examination of our, at-present, harrowing realities that we are able to tread our own collective path towards a more progressive and unprejudiced society.
“Tapusin! Tapusin!” dives into this social consciousness, to the players that paint the landscape of today as it continues to move and take form amidst the shifting chaos of our current reality. It touches on the collective whole, on the factions that make up modern society, drawing inwards, into the individual, as it stands in silent fortitude or acute fear, within the fractured spectrum of our capricious social condition. Artists Bam Garibay and Roger Mond explore the dipoles of these realities, weighing from one end to the other the factors that define our progression as a society, and the reasons behind their persisting influence.
Bam Garibay’s works deconstruct the various groups that make up contemporary society—from the educated minority and their nonviolent principles, often trapped between their self-interests and their pursuit of fleeting ideals; to the militant radicals, dauntless, passionate, moved by an intense yearning for political reforms; and to the military, in their faith in hard discipline, gripped with a desire to take over and redo the system in line with their own virtues. Each of these factions hold considerable force over the ever-shifting dynamics of Philippine contemporary politics, imprisoning the individual within its confines, and encouraging the idea that there is an inherent necessity to identify with either one of these systems, and in the process transforming persons into mere identities, faceless amidst the imposing ideals of a greater and more indomitable social phenomenon.
But Roger Mond’s works glide precisely into this territory, into the psyche of the human mind as it grapples with a spectre of a vision that is beyond reach. They examine our individual choices, and the infinite realities that arise from their ashes. There is an emphasis on the blurred lines between good and evil, of an inescapable turmoil that leads, more often than not, to a collective history rife with melancholia and betrayals, and tainted with the dissonance of a chaste hope and an encompassing system seemingly broken beyond repair. The struggle of the individual to make sense of a reality they are inevitably are a part of, and, for some, responsible in having created, whether it be through inaction, passivity, or a malicious desire to take exploit and take advantage of, takes form as an overarching sense of anxiety and dread, a disbelief in the notion that with enough effort, things could get better.
And so somewhere in between these tessellations we are left with the shattered fragments of an aching nation, a people still pining after better days, of bygone eras and hopeful futures. For many, it is far easier to give in and allow oneself to be tossed in the waves, praying only for deliverance without minding the hard work that often comes along with the pursuit of progress. And yet this collective consciousness, despite its persistence, is nebulous and fractured. It is shifting. Simple, impermanent changes are no longer enough. There needs to be an overhaul in the general mentality that keeps this nation drowning in its mistakes and sorrows, a re-rendering of exactly what is important to the Filipino spirit. It is only after breaking from this prison that we could finally tread a path into a fairer and more equitable world.
Words by Elle Lucena