A collaboration with Frances Wadsworth Jones
Twenty-four reconstructions of pieces from the Hawaii Collection, modelled from photographs taken by Christie’s.
3D printed plastic, brass and dry-transfer text
On the 27th of February 1986, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos arrived in Hawaii after being granted safe haven by Ronald Reagan’s government. The deposed dictator and his wife stepped off a U.S. Air Force plane onto a 150 foot red carpet rolled onto the tarmac of Hickam Air Force Base.
In the two C-141 transport planes that carried them, they had packed 23 wooden crates, 12 suitcases and bags, and various boxes, whose contents included 413 pieces of jewellery, packed amongst disposable diapers.
The jewellery, which would be referred to in court documents as the Hawaii Collection, was immediately confiscated by United States Customs upon their arrival. Seized items included an extremely rare 25 carat pink diamond worth $5 million and a pearl and diamond tiara taken from the Russian tsar’s family in1918.
Shortly after their seizure, the Hawaii Collection was repatriated to the Philippines and turned over to the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the agency tasked with the sequester and liquidation of the Marcos ill-gotten assets. For over three decades, they languished in the vaults of the Philippine Central Bank, hidden from public view amidst legal challenges from the Marcos family.
In February 2016, the PCGG announced that all legal impediments had been cleared for the pieces to go to auction with a planned public exhibition to precede the sale. Jewellery experts from Christie’s arrived in Manila to examine and evaluate the pieces.
Unfortunately, the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte put an end to these plans. Shortly after assuming office in May 2016, he ordered the reinternment of Ferdinand Marcos’ corpse in the National Heroes Cemetery and announced moves to begin dismantling the PCGG – its responsibilities being transferred to the Office of the Solicitor General, a position currently held by an avowed Marcos loyalist.
The jewellery has not been seen since.