The UP Vargas Museum opens an exhibition on the ill-gotten wealth of Marcoses

The exhibition is open to the public by appointment from Tuesday, July 12

MANILA, Philippines – Together with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the Vargas Museum at the University of the Philippines is launching PCGG Works Collection: Objects of Studyan exhibition showcasing some of the artwork salvaged from the Marcos’ hoard of ill-gotten riches.

The exhibition, announced in a July 11 Facebook post, presents a diverse collection of works of art designed for religious or aesthetic purposes by noble and peasant artists from around the world. These pieces were made using various unique mediums such as egg tempera and copper, glass, gold leaf, lacquer, wood, etc.

Photo from the Facebook page of the UP Vargas Museum

According to the UP Vargas Museum, these works were originally imported by Imelda Marcos from Italy, Russia and the former Yugoslavia for the establishment of her Metropolitan Museum in Manila. At the time, the museum was intended to be a venue for international art exhibitions intended to introduce Filipinos to foreign cultures. When the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted, he moved away from such a goal and focused more on enriching Filipino arts and culture.

“The exhibition responds to the need to situate these cultural objects in a social context, to productively appreciate and accept the levels of difficulty presented by the PCGG art collection in its involvement of a story complex politics,” the museum’s official Facebook said. page.

“They are entangled in the matrix of refinement and excess, of identity, prestige, taste, power and beauty, development, nationalism and internationalism, acquisition, cold war, third world, martial law, new society, people power,” they added.

The PCGG was primarily formed in 1986 by the late President Corazon Aquino to sequester the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcos, following the events of the EDSA revolution. In 2021, they were able to recover 174.2 billion pesos from the Marcos loot; The loot included a variety of paintings and artwork.

“Since then a number of paintings, including those of Botticelli, Raphael and Titian, had been sold by the PCGG at auction, with the proceeds going to land reform. But some pieces remained, ”explains the statement from the museum.

The Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Philippiniana Research Center, also known as the UP Vargas Museum, houses a collection of books, archives, art, and memorabilia compiled by UP alumnus Jorge B. Vargas. The PCGG exhibition, in particular, is located at Galeries 3/F. To make an appointment, visit their Facebook page or call them at (+632) 8928 1927. – with reporting by Bea Bertuldo/

Bea Bertuldo is a Rappler trainee.

James C. Tibbs