Solenn Heussaff says sorry after “poverty porn” photo draws backlash | FreebieMNL
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Solenn Heussaff says sorry after “poverty porn” photo draws backlash

Solenn Heussaff says sorry after “poverty porn” photo draws backlash

(Images from Instagram: @solenn)

“It wasn’t a terrible marketing team, it was me, [there is] no one else to blame,” the actress-painter wrote.

This formed a part of the apology that Solenn Heussaff posted on Instagram on Thursday morning in response to criticisms hurled towards her photo depicting what many called “poverty porn.”

The photo posted on Wednesday shows Heussaff lounging on a wooden chair, posing among her artworks and a plush rug with an urban poor community as her background. It was meant to promote her upcoming solo exhibit set to open later this month.

Solenn Heussaff received backlash after sharing this photo of her painting with the urban poor community as background.

Mere hours after posting the photo, it had already drawn a horde of comments, most of which berated the celebrity for using the urban slums as an accessory to her art form. Many described the photo as “poverty porn,” pertaining to the sort of media that takes advantage of the poor’s conditions to generate sympathy for a cause. The rest simply pointed out that the photo was done in “poor taste.”

In one of the exchanges under the photo, one user refuted another’s statement that Solenn donates to charities by saying: “Yes, she’s using her art to donate sa mga charity at projects, and that’s EXACTLY what every rich person does, hinge on charity than social justice. Exploiting them as a subject instead na mag-help in alleviating the conditions of the poor.”

Under one of the comments that called Heusaff “insensitive,” she replied that “[if] this was shot in the middle of BGC then you would say I live in a bubble.”

The photo has since been scrubbed off social media.

On Instagram, Heusaff explained her location of choice: “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.”

The actress also ensured people that, even though art is subjective, the inputs of her photo’s critics made her “more sensitive to different perspectives on [her] choice of setting.”

“It wasn’t my intention to hurt or offend anyone. It was my hope that I could lend my voice and my art to show the reality of Filipinos. […] 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,” the painter added.

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

(Images: Solenn Heusaff)

Heussaff’s upcoming solo exhibit will take place at Modeka Art in Makati on March 26. Entitled “Kundiman,” the show will feature some of Solenn’s paintings which, according to her, “expresses [her] love, appreciation and hope for our country and our people.” 

ALSO READ: Anita Magsaysay-Ho painting from 1955 fetches P84 million, sets world record

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