The mind-boggling hoard of jewellery the plundering first lady tried to smuggle out of the Philippines is being remade as sculpture by artist Pio Abad – with all its sparkle gone

Over his three terms as president of the Philippines from 1965, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were able to cream off some $10bn of the nation’s assets through offshore banks. New revelations that a close associate of the dictator was also able to maintain an account with Credit Suisse as late as 2006 therefore comes as no surprise to Manila-born Pio Abad. For a decade the artist has been making work under the title The Collection of Jane Ryan and William Saunders, a reference to the aliases the couple used with the Swiss bank.

“It’s funny when a 10-year project becomes news,” says Abad, who is now London-based. “These institutions are very culpable for what happened in the Philippines.”

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