Poverty as an ‘aesthetic’? Solenn apologizes amid criticism on her art installment


Posted at Mar 04 2021 12:54 AM

MANILA — Actress Solenn Heussaff has apologized amid backlash to her art installment at a slum area, which aimed to promote her upcoming solo exhibit.


A post shared by Solenn Heussaff (@solenn)

In the photo posted across her social media channels, Heussaff is seen seated on chair, with her own designed rug underneath and an acrylic painting, depicting a tropical paradise, behind her. In the background are a shanty house and a sari-sari store.

“Happy to share that after almost 3 years in the making, I will be having my 3rd solo exhibit,” Heussaff wrote in the caption. “Mixing massive acrylic paintings and my new found love for rug designing.”

Titled “Kundiman,” the upcoming month-long exhibit, according to Heussaff, is an expression of her “love, appreciation and hope for our country and our people.”

As Heussaff’s announcement made the rounds online, her promotional material for the exhibit drew criticism, for supposedly making use of poverty as an “aesthetic,” with others branding her installment as “poverty porn.”

“This is not poverty porn,” Heussaff replied to one such comment on Instagram. “If you read my caption and get to see the whole show you will understand and not be so quick to judge.”

“It’s all about not turning a blind eye to what goes on around us. Bringing people’s story to light,” she added.

The backlash, however, ultimately led to Heussaff deciding against posting further about “Kundiman,” ahead of its March 26 kickoff.

“Clearly people are quick to judge. I’ll just share the story when people can see the complete exhibit,” she said.

Then, on Wednesday night, Heussaff took to Facebook to issue an apology, without further addressing the criticism directed at her piece.

“I sincerely apologise and will post when I have the full story nalang,” she said.

Heussaff, 35, had been chronicling for the past of couple of months the final stretch of her preparation for the exhibit, sharing glimpses of paintings depicting urban poverty and what appear to be street dwellers.

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