Solenn Heussaff says no intention to 'romanticize poverty' after art found in poor taste
Solenn Heussaff
Solenn Heussaff via Instagram

Solenn Heussaff says no intention to 'romanticize poverty' after art found in poor taste

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - March 4, 2021 - 10:55am

MANILA, Philippines — Artist-artista Solenn Heussaff apologized over the resulting backlash from her art exhibit promotional material that was set in the slums.

Tagged as “poverty porn,” Solenn had earlier posted a now-deleted photo that showed her personally exhibiting her artwork with an urban poor community as the backdrop.



A post shared by Solenn Heussaff (@solenn)


“I’ve been thinking a lot about the comments you guys left on the photo I posted. I know it sparked some debate and there were both good and bad takes on it. While I appreciate the encouragement some shared, I also want to apologize to those I have hurt,” Solenn posted Thursday morning.

The painter explained the rationale behind her decision to shoot the promotional material for her upcoming third solo exhibit in the slums.

“Wanted to shoot it in a typical street, those we drive by every day. Streets full of life, since all my paintings are about the people we see. Not the rich or the poor but people for who they are. Humanity. The choice of painting was to show the environmental side. The abundance and balance of what life was, but also growth and hope,” she said.

Solenn described the criticism as a “learning experience” that made her more sensitive to different perspectives on her choice of setting.

“It wasn’t a terrible marketing team, it was me, no one else to blame,” she owned up, adding that there was no intention to hurt or offend anyone.

The only goal for her exhibit, she said, was to lend her voice and art to show the reality of Filipinos.

“This is the heart and inspiration of all my paintings, both old and new. I did not want to romanticize the poverty of the everyday Pinoy or the resiliency that we naturally have. I really hoped to honor our people by being truthful about the kind of life a lot of Filipinos live today and to show that Filipinos deserve better,” she said.

“Thank you for letting this be an eye-opener for me as well. And to those that I have offended, I am sorry.”

Solenn will launch her solo art exhibit "Kundiman" on March 26 after almost three years in the making.

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