This week: are stolen Cambodian statues hidden in the world’s great public collections? We discuss Cambodia’s looted heritage with Celia Hatton, the Asia Pacific editor and presenter at the BBC World Service, whose documentary for BBC TV and radio Cambodia: Returning the Gods exposes the connections between looters, smugglers and, allegedly, some of the world’s most famous encyclopaedic museums.
Plus, the dark truth behind the art and antiques assembled by the Marcos family in the Philippines as they return to power. We talk to the Filipino artist Pio Abad—who’s made art about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and their collections for more than a decade—about Bongbong Marcos’s presidential election victory in the Philippines and what that means for the country, and the art and antiquities seized by its government after the Marcoses were deposed in the 1980s.
And in this episode’s Work of the Week, we discuss a sculpture by Ruth Asawa—Untitled (S.266, Hanging Seven-Lobed, Multi-Layered Interlocking Continuous Form within a Form) (1961)—a highlight of a new exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in the UK, with Emma Ridgway, the show’s co-curator. Remarkably, the solo exhibition is the first in a European institution dedicated to the Japanese-American artist.
• You can read Celia’s report on Cambodian antiquities online here. Cambodia: Returning the Gods (radio version) is on the BBC website and the BBC Sounds app. Cambodia: Returning the Gods (television version) is on iPlayer in the UK and will be shown again on the BBC World news channel, broadcast date to be confirmed