LA PAZ – Walls filled with old vinyl records, dozens of CDs and cassette tapes, books, magazines, dolls and replicas of Michael Jackson’s most iconic jackets are all on display in La Paz in one of the biggest collections of Jackson memorabilia in South America, an exhibit devoted to the immortal “King of Pop” 10 years after his death.
“The Legacy of Michael Jackson – Ten Years of Immortality,” which opened to the public on Tuesday at the Casa de la Cultura in the Bolivian capital, includes almost 400 objects that Julio Cesar Valda has collected since 1979.
This is the second time that Valda, a Bolivian citizen, has shown his collection to the public, motivated – among other things – to ensure that “the people become acquainted with Jackson’s discography” above and beyond his most popular albums, he told EFE.
“At times, the new generations think that Michael Jackson is just the ‘Thriller’ album, ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Bad’ or ‘History,’ but no, the artist has a significance that starts back in 1968,” the collector said.
So, besides the solo albums he recorded, the exposition also includes those he made with his brothers, The Jackson 5, or the singles he made along with “big artists” like Paul McCartney and Diana Ross.
At the same time, the exhibit is a kind of tour of the evolution of the recording industry – from the 8-tracks of the 1970s, the vinyl records, cassettes and CDs until the current DVD, Blu-ray and dual disc technologies, all of them – of course – featuring Jackson.
The collection also includes garments copying Jackson’s at times stunning jackets, including a replica of the black one adorned with silver medallions from his “Bad” tour or the one with golden metallic belts that he wore on his “Dangerous” tour.
Amid the discography and the clothing are dolls of various sizes representing Jackson in his most-remembered poses, including doing his famous “Moon Walk” or in his iconic red and black jacket from “Thriller.”
The winner of 15 Grammy Awards, along with special Grammy Legend and Grammy Lifetime awards, 26 American Music Awards and 16 World Music Awards, Jackson (1958-2009) remains one of the dominant figures in the history of modern music, having sold 350 million albums worldwide.
Jackson died on June 25, 2009, from an overdose of anesthetics at his mansion near Bel Air, the exclusive neighborhood populated by celebrities in Los Angeles.
The shadow that still hangs over his career were the numerous accusations of sexual abuse of minors, although he was never convicted of that heinous crime.
Recently, the issue resurfaced with the release of the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland” in which two men in their 30’s say they were victims of sexual abuse by the singer when they were young boys.
Valda says that none of the allegations was ever proved and Jackson was exonerated in one case that went to trial in 2005.
Another element of the exhibition, however, is to show Jackson’s “spiritual legacy” and his message of caring for the environment, animals and people who are “suffering,” Valda said.