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WE THE PEOPLE

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With her "Kundiman," Solenn shows her love for her fellow Filipinos

“Now more than ever we need to stay inspired,” says Solenn Heussaff on an Instagram post showing a piece from her most recent exhibit, Kundiman. She says that her art is meant is to honor by way of depicting social reality and seeing people for who they are as is shown in this piece titled “Within Reach 2030.”

But, as with all artists, sometimes creation is met with criticism and just discussion, as was the case when Heussaff posted a photo of herself sitting in front a painting along an impoverish­ed Metro Manila street. Many online called her out for apparently using “poverty as an aesthetic.”

This was not her goal, she says, and quickly apologized for any hurt feelings the post, which has since been taken down, led to. Heussaff saw the lively exchange on cyberspace as an opportunit­y to learn.

“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,” she wrote on a separate post. “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.”

And that sentiment of knowing that your fellows are worthy of more, that campaign of doing your part to inspire, to show reality to lead to change, are true markers of community spirit.

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