The crisis of the global pandemic revealed deep-rooted problems that have long existed in our world—economic inequality. It helped to affirm the great dissonance between the labeling of certain workers as “heroes” and their dismal wages. More than ever before, people are concerned with inequality all over the world, and this exhibition is one of the most innovative ways to expose this long-lasting social injustice.

One Twitter user recently went to an art exhibition with 3D-printed replicas of Imelda Marcos’ jewelry. Imelda Romualdez Marcos is a former First Lady of the Philippines. During their 21 years of tenure, she and her husband are believed to have illegally acquired a multi-billion US dollar fortune, most of which still remains unrecovered.

As Filipino Esquire Magazine puts it, “the stories of Imelda Marcos’ extravagance and corruption are well-documented.” No one knows exactly how much her extravagance cost taxpayers, but this art exhibition helps to put some numbers in perspective.

The viral Twitter thread offered a peek inside Imelda Marcos’ jewelry collection and revealed the true worth of each piece. The 3D-printed replicas help us imagine the impact that the huge sums of money could have had on someone else’s life. As one person on social media has said, “See, I wouldn’t mind people spending that kind of money on useless items if everyone else could still live comfortably.”

More info: Twitter | Hawaii State Art Museum

One Twitter user shared photos from a brilliant exhibition of 3D-printed replicas of Imelda Marcos’ jewelry

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The outstanding exhibition was featured at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. For those who would like to visit it, it is located in downtown Honolulu. The coolest thing about the place is that museum admission is always free! “This includes all museum exhibits, events, and activities,” reads the description of the Hawai‘i State Art Museum. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Below each piece, the authors have written what could have been done with the money that the jewelry is worth

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The authors of the exhibition—Pio Abad and Frances Wadsworth Jones—write in the description: “This collaborative work consists of twenty-four 3D-printed reconstructions of the jewelry collection confiscated from the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda when they went into exile in Hawaii in 1986. This collection was later referred to in court documents as the Hawaii Collection. Shortly after the seizure the Hawaii Collection was returned to the Philippines and turned over to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the agency tasked with the sequestering and liquidation of the Marcos’s ill-gotten assets. After more than three decades of legal challenges from the Marcos family the Philippine government finally planned to sell the jewels at Christie’s as part of efforts to reclaim some of the Marcos’s illegally acquired wealth, but the nation’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, cancelled the auction after taking office in 2016. The jewelry has not been seen since.”

Abad explains the title of the work: “Jane Ryan and William Saunders were the false identities used by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos to register their first Swiss bank account at Credit Suisse Zurich in March 1968, which enabled them to transform a huge proportion of the Philippine treasury into private wealth under the guidance of the Western banking system.”

Pio Abad was born in Manila, Philippines and currently lives and works in London, England. He studied at the University of the Philippines before receiving a BA from Glasgow School of Art and a MA from the Royal Academy Schools, London. He works in a wide range of media, often focusing on the social and political significance and meaning objects.

Frances Wadsworth Jones was born in London, where she is currently a jewelry designer, maker, and educator. She received an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. Her work is “playfully conceptual and quietly provocative.”

“The full immunization of 20,000 children plus 17,600 pneumococcal vaccines to senior citizens and infants”

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“1,726 agrarian reform beneficiaries by building farming capacities, providing access to services and developing enterprises”

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“Four year tuition for 2,000 college students in a Philippine state university”

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“Electricity to approximately 2,252 households in off-grid areas”

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“The average annual income of 15 Filipinos”

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“The treatment of 12,052 cases of tuberculosis until their full recovery”

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“Support for 310 indigenous family beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program”

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“15% of the total budget of the construction of Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit Line 2”

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“Housing to 1,200 homeless beneficiaries”

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“52,631 textbooks for Grades 11 and 12”

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Here’s what people said

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