This eerie, dreamlike painting is a commentary on the abuses of friar-priests during the Spanish colonial period – a period often hushed by the descendants of victims and those who simply mean to forget. Emmanuel Garibay paints the large looming image of a friar, with sword at his side, to indicate the belligerent manner by which Filipinos of the past centuries have been converted to a religion that serves an imperial expansionist purpose. Together with the image of Christ's feet on the left, they convey the message of the Spanish colonial project that utilized both “cross and sword” to subdue the native populace, as symbolized by the bound head hanging from a cage (an image of what revolutionaries get as punishment that can be seen from a 1700s painting by Esteban Villanueva The Basi Revolt). The enigmatic figure however, is the masked woman, who despite being dressed in conservative 19th century clothing is almost disrobed, her hands holding an obviously pregnant belly. Is she a victim of friar rape, as was the case in several episodes in colonial history?
Oil on Canvas
122 x 244 cm (48 x 96”)