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Solenn Heussaff’s latest piece sparks discourse on advocacy vs poverty porn

There’s a fine line between romanticizing hardship and well-intentioned advocacy. People are now wondering, “has Solenn Heussaf crossed it?”

In a now deleted photo, the famous personality is seen posing in front of a rough neighborhood to promote her upcoming art exhibit. It sparked backlash from the online community as she was accused of being guilty of “poverty porn.” The term has been defined as a tactic by artists to use the poor as a way to gain empathy, particularly for a privileged audience — which is a common occurrence in Filipino media.

via Solenn Heusaff

Some even compared Solenn’s picture to the prenup photos of Billy Crawford and Colleen Garcia who sparked similar controversy back in 2018.

Given the subjective nature of art, Twitter users began sharing their thoughts on the issue.

Where some would see it as making a powerful statement, or a window into how the impoverished are in the country, others seemed to disagree.

It looks like the majority of the public are taking the stand that Solenn was simply making use of the poor as a backdrop.

For contrast, people can take pictures in impoverished areas without it looking like poverty porn. Back in 2018, Miss Universe Catriona Gray filmed the music video for her song We’re In This Together which she did for charity. The video was well received and was celebrated by Filipinos for its advocacy.

Solenn recently apologized for the photo on Instagram stating that, “Though yes, art is subjective, and your thoughts made me more sensitive to different perspectives on my art and this really was a learning experience for me.”

The actress also said that it wasn’t her intention to offend anyone, and she only wanted to raise awareness on the country’s poor.

While art is personal it is also political – it’s important to take measures not to be insensitive or cross any lines. There may be perspectives that we have yet to consider that could send the wrong message for an otherwise well-meaning piece.

POP! Creator Community/Viking Ulanday

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