Giovanna Silva explores the architectural heritage of the Philippines, illustrating the relationship between architecture and history, through the architectural exuberance of a power long marked by corruption and nepotism.
Imelda Romualdez Marcos is a Filipino politician who was first lady of the Philippines for twenty-one years, during which time she and her husband are widely believed to have illegally amassed a multibillion dollar fortune, the bulk of which still remains unrecovered. Her personal wealth was estimated at $24 billion in 1979, and today it is thought to be at least $30 billion. She married Ferdinand Marcos in 1954 and became first lady in 1965, when he was elected president of the Philippines.
During her tenure as first lady, Marcos owned three thousand pairs of shoes. She imported giraffes—just because she could. Her habit of initiating ostentatious architectural projects using public funds came to be described in common parlance as "Imeldific." In 1966, Ferdinand Marcos issued Executive Order no. 60, establishing the Cultural Center of the Philippines and appointing its board of directors. The board would elect Imelda Marcos as chair, giving her legal mandate to negotiate and manage funds for the center. The CCP is considered the central symbol of Imelda Marcos's "edifice complex." Its enormous modernist concrete structures were designed by Filipino architect Leandro Locsin. Imelda Marcos declared the center the "sanctuary of the Filipino soul."
In these pages, Giovanna Silva inspects the heritage of the country, illustrating the robust relationship between architecture and history.
Giovanna Silva lives and works in Milan. As a photographer, she exposed at the Venice Biennale 2006 her work about the city of Bogotà, Colombia. She is the author of Desertions, a chronicle of an american trip with designer Enzo Mari. From 2005-2007 she contributed to Domus and since september 2007 until september 2011 she was the Photo Editor of Abitare. She photographed Renzo Piano and Zaha Hadid for the Abitare's special issues Being Renzo Piano and Being Zaha Hadid, 6 month experience of architecture in the making. In 2011 she published the book, Orantes, ed. Quodlibet. In 2012 she published Narratives/Relazioni: Baghdad, Green Zone, Red Zone, Babylon, Mousse Publishing.
She is in the editorial board of San Rocco Magazine. She is the editor of Humboldt Books. She has a column on Doppiozero.