“ART is the soul of the nation,” decorated Filipino artist Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay said during a short lecture on Sunday, as Iloilo’s newest venue for creative expression, the Omriel Art Gallery, opened in Mandurriao district – injecting this locale’s thriving art community with some newfound vigor.
Located on the second floor of The Galleria building along Pacencia Avenue, San Rafael, Mandurriao, Omriel is run by emerging champions of the Ilonggo art scene Ambassador Uriel Norman Garibay and his wife Dr. Omega Garibay – the gallery’s title a portmanteau of their own names. Envisioned as an emotional intelligence hub as well as a gallery, Omriel aims to provide a setting to showcase the works of contemporary artists from Iloilo and beyond.
The project seamlessly blends together the passions of the esteemed Garibay couple, a career diplomat and a medical doctor, seeking to foster in Omriel, a venue that espouses restoration and healing of the wellbeing through the arts and emotional intelligence.
Famed social realist painter Manny Garibay graced the official opening of Omriel Art Gallery and its inaugural exhibit entitled “Blood Line,” featuring the works of the family of artists Garibay clan and Iloilo’s homegrown Sigahum arts group.
Curated by Manny Garibay’s son Bam Garibay, “Blood Line” highlights pieces by Alee Garibay, Nina Garibay, Shalom Garibay, Yuhum Muriel Dean, and Christopher Dean, alongside the works of Ilonggo artists Kristoffer Brasileño, PJ Cabanalan, Marvin Dalisay, Jason Delgado, Noel Elicana, Joebert Gayoma, Jirah Labanza, Roland Llarena, Delmo, and Orland.
During the event Manny Garibay, awarded the prestigious Thirteen Artists Award by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2000, underscored the promising growth of the Ilonggo art community, lauding young locale artists for their fervent passion and inviting Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to invest more on this bustling metropolis’ public art./PN