BBC's Radio 4 has presented a program on Imelda Marcos as some revisionists are trying to represent her as an inspiration to the arts.
During her time as First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos was an enthusiastic patroness of the arts. She has now become an object of inspiration to musicians and artists across the globe, with Imelda-inspired works including an elaborate song cycle, photographs, a film and a musical.
Mark Ellen explores the emergence of Imelda Marcos as an unlikely modern icon as David Byrne, Norman Cook and other artists and musicians inspired by her life consider why Imelda has mutated into a modern muse and whether she deserves such broadly sympathetic treatment.
The dictionary definition of a muse is "a goddess that inspires an artist, especially a poet".
Does Imelda Marcos, the woman who said:
"I was born ostentatious. They will list my name in the dictionary someday. They will use 'Imeldific' to mean ostentatious extravagance," really qualify as a goddess?
This wilfully contentious argument in favour of Imelda's iconic status from journalist Mark Ellen - albeit framed with typical good humour and no shortage of well-placed irony - explores the emergence of Marcos as a modern muse.
Contributors include musicians Norman Cook and David Byrne. But while she might be an inspiration to artists, the years of martial law suffered by the people of the Philippines under the Marcos regime is far from inspirational.
The program has now been broadcast, but it can still be listened to by going to the link below:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00x9yd5 and clicking on the "Listen Now" button
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