Why UP Vargas Museum is Exhibiting the PCGG Art Collection

It's open to the public starting July 12.
Photo/s: UP Vargas Museum/Facebook

The UP Vargas Museum has opened an exhibit featuring artworks that were recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Governance from collections traced to the Marcos family, allowing the public to appreciate art in the context of history.

The PCGG Artworks Collection: Objects of Study can be viewed by appointment starting July 12, featuring a variety of works from Italy, the former Soviet Union, and former Yugoslavia that were sequestered by the PCGG as part of their mandate to recover ill-gotten wealth, the museum said in a Facebook post on Monday.

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Some of the paintings were created for religious purposes and were crafted from lacquer, the medium of egg tempera and copper, the ornament of gold leaf, among others, the museum said.

The exhibit was put up to help the public further understand and appreciate the social, cultural, and historical significance of these artworks, it said.

"They are entangled in the matrix of refinement and excess, identity, prestige, taste, power and beauty, development, nationalism and internationalism, acquisitiveness, Cold War, Third World, Martial Law, New Society, People Power," it said.

"To appreciate it is to necessitate a sensitive response to art and its layers built from within the material as well as its social dimensions," it added.

Former President Corazon Aquino created the PCGG in 1986 specifically to recover ill-gotten wealth from the family of her predecessor, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

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Many of those sequestered artworks were found at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, built in 1976 through the initiative of former First Lady Imelda Marcos to "increase the Filipino people’s awareness of the cultures of the world," the museum said.

"Since then, a number of paintings, including the ones by Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian, had been disposed of by the PCGG through auction, the proceeds going towards agrarian reform. But some pieces remained," it said.

"Pieces from the PCGG Artworks Collection in this exhibition remain under litigation and research on the sequestered property continues," it added.

Those interested in visiting the exhibit may book an appointment through the Appointment Booking Tool on UP Vargas Museum's Facebook page. The museum can also be reached through its Instagram account @upvargasmuseum or email vargasmuseum@up.edu.ph.


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